Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Romeo and Juliet: William Shakespeare, June 28—30, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Arguably Shakespeare’s most famous play, it is clear to see why Romeo and Juliet is so enduring. Approaching Shakespeare can be daunting; it has a reputation for being difficult to understand. But with a little perseverance, or the help of John Crowther’s No Fear Shakespeare series, it is an easy one to follow.
The juxtaposition of humour and drama works very well, with Romeo’s puerile friends keeping the tone light, along with the malapropism-prone (and imaginatively named) Nurse. Romeo himself is the source of a chuckle, with his utter love for Rosaline quickly substituted for Juliet.
The theme is less of the deep and enduring love that its reputation would lead us to believe, but of teenage infatuation. Romeo and Juliet are not in love; they barely know each other by the time of their shotgun wedding. They are, in fact, in lust with each other and the real tragedy is the fundamental meaningless of their teenage hormones and the havoc they wreak.
Romeo and Juliet contains some beautiful speeches, including the famous balcony scene. The imagery within some of the dialogue is stunning, and, baring in mind plays should be viewed rather than read, it takes little imagination to envisage the heartbreaking scenes on stage. It is rightly a classic.
Over and above, the story lining is tight and the additional subplots added by Shakespeare to the original poem Romeus and Julet work very well to enhance the storyline. Its simplicity is its its key, and its pacing is perfect.
Undoubtedly, this is one you must read before you die – by poison, dagger or otherwise.