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Romeo and Juliet
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Over four hundred years after it was first published, Romeo and Juliet remains one of Shakespeare’s most famous and most frequently performed plays. During the late 1500s many playwrights loved to base their plays off of Italian stories, and Shakespeare was no different; he was heavily influenced by the Italian tale “The Goodly History of the True and Constant Love of Romeo and Juliett.” Today Romeo and Juliet continues to spread its influence within literature and performing arts. It has been adapted into 24 operas, numerous films, a ballet, and has also been referenced in law. The play has entertained generations with its romance, deception, revenge, sword-fighting, creative verse, comedic relief, and tragic fate.
The prologue lays before us the fate of our star-crossed lovers: two Italian households have a long, ongoing vendetta against each other, kept under control only by Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona. Romeo meets with his friends Benvolio and Mercutio after having his heart broken by Rosaline. Encouraged to find love elsewhere, Mercutio sneaks him into one of Capulet’s masked parties, where he encounters Juliet, Capulet’s daughter. This is the beginning of a love affair that is destined to end in tragedy.
This Standard Ebooks production is based on William George Clark and William Aldis Wright’s 1887 Victoria edition, which is taken from the Globe edition.
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