Romeo and Juliet: By William Shakespeare

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MobileReference.com, 2008 - Electronic books - 137 pages
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This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This booktable of contents linked to every act and scene. *****************. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of renowned playwright William Shakespeare about two teenage star-cross''d lovers whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding households. The play has been highly praised by literary critics for its language and dramatic effect. It was among Shakespeare''s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Its influence is still seen today, with the two main characters being widely represented as archetypal young lovers. Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to Ancient Greece. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582. Brooke and Painter were Shakespeare''s chief sources of inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. He borrowed heavily from both, but developed minor characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris, in order to expand the plot. Believed to be written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare''s original text. Shakespeare''s use of dramatic structure, especially his expansion of minor characters and use of subplots to embellish the story, has been praised as an early sign of his dramatic skill. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. Romeo, for example, grows more adept at the sonnet form over time. Characters frequently compare love and death and allude to the role of fate. Since its original publication, Romeo and Juliet has been adapted numerous times in stage, film, musical and operatic forms. During the Restoration, it was revived and heavily revised by William Davenant. David Garrick''s 18th century version, which continued to be performed on and into the Victorian era, also modified several scenes, removing material then considered indecent. Performances in the 19th century, including Charlotte Cushman''s, restored the original text, and focused on greater realism. John Gielgud''s 1935 version kept very close to Shakespeare''s text, and used Elizabethan costumes and staging to enhance the drama. OCo Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ."

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About the author (2008)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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