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Romeo and Juliet
Transcript of Romeo and Juliet
It was written in approximately 1595 - that's over 400 years ago!
Background in Brief:
So who was William Shakespeare?
Shakespeare did not invent the story of Romeo and Juliet. A poet named Arthur Brooks first brought the story of 'Romeus' and Juliet to an English-speaking audience. His poem was itself not original, but rather an adaptation of adaptations that stretched across nearly a hundred years and two languages. Many of the details of Shakespeare’s plot are lifted directly from Brooks’s poem. Shakespeare often wrote plays based on earlier works.
"The greatest love story of all time..."
Romeo and Juliet has become the template for all literary stories about socially "forbidden" love:
Romeo and Juliet - An Inspiration:
West Side Story
The Great Gatsby
The Twilight Series
Gnomeo and Juliet
The play has also been the inspiration behind songs such as:
'Romeo & Juliet' - Dire Straits
'Check Yes Juliet' - We the Kings
And several rap songs, none of which I can show you here.
'The Great Gatsby'
Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage—
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Summary - the Teenage Version
...so sad dawg!
Bosko and Admira were dubbed Sarajevo's 'Romeo and Juliet' by the press.
A Tale as Old as Time...
As you can see, you are not just studying a dusty old play. You are studying one of the greatest works in the English language; a work that continues to inspire us today.
The CHORUS enters.
In the beautiful city of Verona, where our story takes place, a long-standing hatred between two families erupts into new violence, and citizens stain their hands with the blood of their fellow citizens. Two unlucky children of these enemy families become lovers and commit suicide. Their unfortunate deaths put an end to their parents' feud. For the next two hours, we will watch the story of their doomed love and their parents' anger, which nothing but the children’s deaths could stop. If you listen to us patiently, we’ll make up for everything we’ve left out in this prologue onstage.
Because Shakespeare does!
But why spoil the ending Miss?
Prologue = a separate introductory section of a literary work
From Greek 'prologos': 'pro' - before, 'logos' - saying
Don't get stuck in the Shakespearean language!
Let the punctuation, not the individual line guide you.
Unfamiliar words will be listed in the margin.
Read both versions of the prologue.
Write these questions (and their answers) in your books:
1. Consider line 6: 'A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life'.
a) Do Romeo and Juliet have any choice about the things that will happen in their lives?
2. What are the effects on the audience of knowing the ending?
3. Do you think knowing the ending heightens the tragedy of 'Romeo and Juliet' or reduces it? Explain your answer in at least four sentences.
Here is Baz Luhrman's version of the prologue. What do you think about the juxtaposition of Shakespearean language with a modern setting?
Juxtaposition = to place close together for contrasting effect
From Latin 'juxta' - next, and French 'poser' - to place
The Prologue - The Two Versions
Here is the opening scene from 'Gnomeo and Juliet'. How are the two scenes similar? How are they different?
Parody helps readers look differently at a well-known text, and invites us to question the original text more closely by trivialising serious issues (for example, 'Gnomeo and Juliet' draws attention to the foolishness of the family quarrel between the Montagues and the Capulets).
Parody: an imitation of the style of a particular writer, with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect
Most famous scene: Act 2, Scene 2
a.k.a 'The Balcony Scene'
This is one of the most famous Shakespearean scenes in history: the scene where Romeo and Juliet declare their love for each other.
Read Act 2, Scene 2:
What are the universal themes represented in this scene?
Are the issues in this scene relevant to teenagers today?
Where would you set this scene to modernise it?
Watch the Baz Luhrman version of this scene. How effective is Baz Luhrman in making 'Romeo and Juliet' easier for students to enjoy?
Shakespeare was a master playwright. As the saying goes, 'the pen is mightier than the sword', and Shakespeare knew how to injure an opponent using nothing but words. He even coined many new words in the process (over 1,500 of them)!
Good work everyone...
let the insults fly!
Want to create your own?
So...what do you think of the Bard now, huh?
Summarise the article - in your own words, write a plot summary of the play, 'Romeo and Juliet'
Read: QLD Senior English (Miller & Colwill) p. 147 'Bosko & Admira'
What attitudes towards romantic love are evident in the song lyrics?