William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor typically regarded as the greatest writer in the English language as well as the world’s greatest dramatist. William Shakespeare had a very interesting life that undoubtedly affected his plays in the best way possible. He was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and was the third of eight children. He attended grammar school to study/learn Latin and literature. Shakespeare has a total of thirty-nine plays, one hundred fifty-four sonnets, two long narrative poems and a few other verses. Sometime between fifteen eighty-nine and sixteen thirteen is when Shakespeare really began to produce most of his works. The early plays Shakespeare created were primarily comedies and histories. These were regarded as some of the best work produced in this genre. In about 1608, he began to write mainly tragedies such as Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and etc.
Shakespeare gathered ideas for some of his plays from other popular writer of his time. Although this may not have made for one hundred percent originality, his plays were interesting and became very popular. Shakespeare received the names for some of his characters from Sir Phillip Sidney’s Arcadia. This was one of the most popular romances appealing to a courtly audience. The people of Shakespeare’s time enjoyed romances set in far-away lands, which was one of the reasons why people enjoyed Sir Phillip Sidney’s Arcadia so much. Such stories like, Guy of Warwick, Bevis of Hampton, Amadis of Gaul, Plamerin of England, and many others may have also inspired The Winter’s Tale. Shakespeare was very smart to have taken ideas from other popular plays of the time when writing The Winter's Tale. Shakespeare used a very popular technique of the time called pastoral romance. Pastoral romance is romance that is not true to life and unreal. By using ideas from other popular plays and using the popular writing technique of pastoral romance, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, as many of his other plays, were sure to captivate the audience.
Just like any other famous play or tragedy Shakespeare had, there was one in particular that is still very famous today. In fact, when you hear William Shakespeare the first thing that may come to mind is Romeo and Juliet. This tragedy was originally published in 1597, about two star-crossed lovers forbidden to see one another because of family history. The male protagonist Romeo was a Montague and Juliet was a Capulet. The prologue of this tragedy merely refers to the Montague and Capulet feud as an “ancient grudge” with no further explanation as to why the two families hated each other so much. Evaluating the actual feud, I feel as if the current families do not actually know why they are mortal enemies with each other. They just know that history said they beef, as the younger crowd would call it.
Many people have made Romeo out to be the hero in this story, but because of his immoral background, mishaps murders, emotional outbursts and his foolish actions make him far from the hero. Throughout the story Juliet finally learns how to overcome obstacles and take control of what was her life. She no longer wanted to live in the shadow of her parents. By this time Romeo had already been banned from Verona and because of her strong love for him she decided to run away with him. Many people do not actually know that Shakespeare made Juliet thirteen in this tragedy to really emphasize the saying young love.
There are so many factors that play in the death between Romeo and Juliet. It is difficult to just pinpoint one reason because the entire play really leads to the cause of their deaths. They were so young, their hormones were racing, they could barely control themselves and the society they lived in only made them want to be together even more. If you tell two children they constantly cannot do or have something it will only make them want that specific thing even more. In this case because the family basically forbade them from seeing one another. At such a young age we really don’t really know how to decipher love from lust. There was not really anything you could say to them to convince them that were not in love. They knew what they felt for each other and there was nothing or no one who could possibly get in the way of that. Juliet was so fed up with the fact that their families could not coexist in the same room. She took it upon herself to drink a potion given to her by Friar Lawrence. The potion basically made her unconscious for twenty-four hours. It basically stopped her blood from pumping, giving the impression that she was dead.
Juliet was taken to the tomb to have what was supposed to be her “funeral” which her dead body had been left there. Miscommunication between Friar Lawrence and Romeo occurred when Balthasar announced Juliet’s death before Friar could tell him it was all a hoax. Romeo’s banishment really played a major role in the bad timing. There wasn’t an easy way for Friar to actually get in touch with Romeo on time. When Romeo arrived to what actually looked like Juliet’s dead body the only thing he could process was that the love of his life was gone and there was nothing else to really live for. Romeo’s only option here was to kill himself as well to be reunited with her. If she had only woke up minutes prior to him taking his life he would have known the whole plan and they could have ran away together like they wanted to. Waking up to Romeo’s dead body killed her on the inside. She thought he was informed of the plan and because he was not Juliet kills herself as well.
Some say fate prevented the letter from getting to Romeo and others say that Friar should have hand delivered such an important message to Romeo himself. We all have our take on what should have been done to prevent such a sad tragedy. The story was intended to end this way, I guess to leave some sort of message. The play probably would not have been as successful if he ended it the way everyone wanted it to end. A happy ending is usually expected in love stories, but an ending where both lovers kill themselves. Who wants to read a predictable story, with a predictable plot and predictable ending. If they did live what would have happened? The family would not have accepted them with open arms. Her father had already threatened to put Juliet in the street for being with Romeo. Two families who have a deep hatred for each other will not simply give in because their underage children secretly eloped.
Shakespeare really embodied “til death do us part” at this part of the play. Two people so in love that they would take their own lives if that meant they could be together in peace. Their death seemed to finally bring peace amongst both families. Why is it that two people so important to them had to die for them to realize that life was too short to be fighting over something that probably was not even that serious. If you really think about it the prologue not only foretells the story’s events, it also gave the audience all the information to make this decision presented in the play. The family feud was toxic and basically a curse upon the next generation, a Biblical concept.
Shakespeare really took another turn when he made the plot twist out to be like that. His mind was greater than most of ours when he came to writing and literature. Who really would have predicted that both protagonists would end up killing themselves in the end? Yes, we knew they were madly in love, but to the point of committing suicide just to be together? No. There may have been clues that actually indicated what their future held for them, but as an audience we were not expecting both Romeo and Juliet to die. Specifically because they were the play. To each is own, but I can mainly conclude that fate was the overall cause of Romeo and Juliet’s death.
1.eNotes 4 Dec 2018 https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/did-juliet-fake-her-death-51595
2.“Five Fascinating Facts about Romeo and Juliet” interestingliterature.com 25 Jan 2016 https://interestingliterature.com/2016/01/25/five-fascinating-facts-about-romeo-and-juliet/
3.J. N. Smith. Cedars, S.R. ed. “Romeo and Juliet summary” GradeSaver 26 June 2013 https://www.gradesaver.com/romeo-and-juliet/study-guide/summary
4.Lee Jamieson “Montague-Capulet Feud” thoughtco https://www.thoughtco.com/montague-capulet-feud-2985037
5.“Romeo and Juliet” PaperAp.com 18 Sep 2017 https://paperap.com/paper-on-romeo-and-juliet-14/