26 CLASSICS: Romeo and Juliet Review #4

Title: Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Drama, Classics

One of Shakespeare's most popular and accessible plays, Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two star-crossed lovers and the unhappy fate that befell them as a result of a long and bitter feud between their families. The play contains some of Shakespeare's most beautiful and lyrical love poetry and is perhaps the finest celebration of the joys of young love ever written. This inexpensive edition includes the complete, unabridged text with explanatory footnotes.Ideal for classroom use, it is a wonderful addition to the home library of anyone wanting to savor one of literature's most sublime paeans to love.

Me: My least favorite of all of Shakespeare's work that I have encountered. 

The Ups: First of all, I'd like to clarify that I have read this book as much as my mind can take. I watched both movies, I performed it, I read the real version and the No Fear Shakespeare version twice...and I don't get it. 

The good thing is, everything after Romeo and Juliet has become a copy of Romeo and Juliet. It coined the term "star-crossed lovers" into part of our everyday literary critiques. It has become the most famous love story of all time- and with good reason. Shakespeare does convey the intensity and the passion that love can bring to a person's life. If you watch the movies, it might convey the general meaning better, where you feel a sense of real sorrow for these teenagers who just needed something desperately to cling too. 

(BTW, I just read Oedipus the King and Antigone in class and it turns out Romeo and Juliet wasn't the first love story like it!!! What a disappointment. )

The only thing I absolutely LOVED were the double entendres. DIRTY JOKES GALORE. Shakespeare had to take into account the upper class and lower class audiences for his performances, and added in some jokes that only people who were pretty dirty-minded would understand. The nurse and Mercutio were just killing it. Really. They should do stand up comedy. 

The Downs: Okay, so it's a touching story. The end. Maybe I lack the age or the wisdom needed to understand this play's beauty...but I don't really see it. The family rivalry isn't very interesting, Romeo is a whiny teenager who is having a lot of trouble with his hormones, Juliet is a submissive, classic "girl" with no thought but of her husband, and it's all just very...unextraordinary. 

Maybe just me, but it almost seems like Shakespeare was poking fun at teenagers' inability to possess common sense. Not that I blame him. 

I love Shakespeare, I really do. Hamlet and Macbeth and the Merchant of Venice are fascinating, with deep investigations into the human mind and social commentary and SO much good meat. R + J, you've let me down. 

What did you think about this classic required reading novel?


  1. I didn't like this at all. I mean, it had a lot of literary meaning, but Romeo was so impulsive and Juliet was so ditzy and it was all so wrong.

    1. TRUE TRUE. They were such overexaggerated teenagers...I feel like symbolically Shakespeare may have written a "classic" love story, but the actual plot is so bleh.

  2. I'll be totally honest. I loved Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. I hated Romeo and Juliet (granted it's been about fifteen years since I read it...)

    So I totally agree. This is so far my least favorite Shakespeare.

    1. DEFINITELY. I loved Macbeth, Hamlet, and Midsummer Night's Dream...but just not this.