Arguably one of the most renowned and famous plays in the world, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been read and enjoyed for centuries. Romeo and Juliet are two star-crossed lovers that fall in love with each other. They strive to be together through family feuds in the name of love. Romeo and Juliet is seen as a love story by many, but is actually a tragedy. The plot in and of itself is pretty simple – a guy meets a girl and they fall in love, but they aren’t meant to be. However, Shakespeare takes it a bit farther and adds in family feuds, and the play ends with the two lovers tragically meeting their end. There is no ultimate breakup, simply just death. It seems gruesome, but this ending helps drive the message of the play home: young love is hard and will not always work out. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. As pessimistic as this message sounds, it is an important one that is nonetheless important to convey to the audience.
Reading this play freshman year was eye-opening for me because it was my first exposure to a Shakespearean tragedy. Obviously, I heard about Romeo and Juliet before, but it struck me as very odd that the young couple who represent the image of love were met with a tragic end to their epic love story. All in all, I would say this play was a great start to understanding Shakespeare and getting acquainted with his language. Romeo and Juliet had a plot that really hooked me in, and I appreciated how simple yet complex the play was.