Tea or coffee? I’ll take a hot chocolate. I hope everyone’s doing well! I’m currently preparing to head Upstate, resulting in today’s post being rather short. Well, we’re back discussing literature today and this time, not about Austen; it’s about Shakespeare, more specifically Romeo and Juliet. This won’t be a long-winded explanation about the brilliance of Romeo & Juliet, which is evidently self-explanatory, but a very quick commentary as to how it is not in the least bit a cliché.
I know what you’re thinking “Evgenia, what are you talking about? Romeo & Juliet is possibly the most cliché love story to exist”. Well, to you sir I say “no, it is not”. The play was published in 1597. During the time of its publication, the story of star-crossed lovers, who died in each others arms, was not a stereotypical tale. Yes, there was Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, but the concept was still novel. Contemporary society has over 50 film adaptations alone of Romeo & Juliet, one of them being Lion King 2- see here and here .
Hollywood, writers, and painters have all borrowed from the brilliance of Shakespeare, and thus the ingenuity of Romeo & Juliet has lost its luster. That is not to say that Romeo & Juliet is not respected within mainstream society, but it’s very title is connotative of school reading requirements and the term ‘overdone’. This is because it has been overdone, and not by Shakespeare, but by modern-day society. We, I use this term in a general sense, are to blame for exhausting the tale of star-crossed lovers, becoming jaded to Shakespeare’s genius.
Seeing as though I lack the eloquence of Shakespeare, I’ll close with his words that make me sob every time because I’m a hopeless romantic….
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all the world will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garsish sun. Act 3 Scene 2 21-25
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and know that I’m not saying that everyone must like Shakespeare. This is simply a social commentary as to how society engages with older texts, what they have done to them, and how this then effects our perception of the work. May you’re weekends be sunny and lovely!
P.S: my favorite film adaptaion of Romeo and Juliet is the most recent one from 2013. The critics weren’t entirely fond of it, but liked it. The cinematography, the scenery, the costsumes are simply stunning. Here’s the trailer, and have tissues on standby if you’re a hopeless romantic…