15 November 2016

Book Review: Romeo and Juliet


Romeo and Juliet Review

Rating: ★★★ 

Title: Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Drama, Play
Publication: 1595
Format: Paperback, 282 pages
Source: Borrowed from a library

“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.” 
- Romeo, 1.1.181

‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ Everyone who is reading this knows these words, and if you don’t, then you’ve probably skipped English class a couple of times.
Romeo and Juliet, a classic romantic fiction, is merely a play in which two young people fall in love and die, yet it has managed to capture and impress so many people all over the world. Written by William Shakespeare, the father of english himself, the play tells the story of two teens who get caught in the crossfire of their feuding families and consequently die. The play is a compelling work of poetic art that has been around since 1595 which proves that it is truly an amazing piece.

Romeo and Juliet contains a myriad of intense and moving scenes filled with clever dialogue, passionate romance, violent sword fights and lots of poetry. Despite Shakespeare using an extremely cliched plot line, his writing style manages to bring the story alive, allowing it to have a powerful effect on the audience. Being written in play form, the write style can be slightly more difficult to read than an average romance novel, nevertheless, it is certainly not a waste of time. As the story unfolds, we the audience, witness ‘the fearful passage of their death-mark'd love’ and explore the conflicted society that Romeo and Juliet, the protagonists live in through an array of metaphors and sonnets.

Right from the beginning, the prologue gives us the outcome of Romeo and Juliet’s forbidden love and it is left up to the audience to figure out how hate will lead to the death of them and their love. It is set in the lavish and fair Verona during the fourteenth century and spans over a short but eventful four days. In these short four days, the audience can almost feel the intensity and star defying love of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is so paced the reader doesn’t have a chance to get bored.

A particular stand out character amongst the many unique ones in the play was Juliet. Her independent, genuine and intelligent character makes Romeo and Juliet even more intricate and entertaining. In the beginning, she is portrayed as an innocent, young, edge-of-thirteen innocent girl and by the end of the play she has progressed from adolescence to maturity. Hence why Romeo and Juliet is extremely appealing to younger audiences.

Romeo and Juliet is a truly exceptional novel because of its universal themes. Shakespeare cleverly explores normal problems faced by people today, especially the younger generation. The archaic, argument between the two families creates a profound conflict for Romeo and Juliet, who must rebel against their heritages. The idea of individuals versus society is a skillfully written theme that teens and adults around the world can relate to. Everyone has arguments with their parents. Don’t deny it.

After the two lovers meet Juliet almost immediately realises her feelings for Romeo will definitely not result in anything good. Love and hate are such timeless and intriguing themes also found in Romeo and Juliet. The audience are given the opportunity to time travel from the technology buzzing twenty first century to the medieval fourteenth Europe and experience much of the same things as they would today. These themes allow the audience to feel empathy towards the characters and absolutely understand the turmoil Romeo and Juliet are experiencing.

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most famous love story in the world. Shakespeare transports a mere love story into something so beautiful and timeless, you can’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it to young adults who will relate to it most, but anyone of any age can read this classic and enjoy it. Romeo and Juliet is a entertaining and wonderful story about ‘two star-cross’d lovers’ who share important messages about society, hate and love to the whole world. It definitely belongs in that empty space on your bookshelf.

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