26 September, 2016

MONDAY POEM: ROMEO + JULIET by William Shakespeare

Happy Monday friends, today in Monday Poem we will be discussing one of  favorite plays of all time! I am a huge fan of Shakespeare, I think he was more than a genius in the literary world, and it gives me great pleasure to read not only plays but also his sonnets. However, today Monday Poem will look a little different because I will be doing a sort of book type review for his play, so without any further ado:

Today we are reading:


Let's get to know William Shakespeare:
William Shakespeare (around 26 April 1564  – 23 April 1616) - was and English poet, playwright, actor, dramatist and best known writer in the English Literature. Through out his life he wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. As an actor he also stared in numerous plays and even opened his out theater called Globe. His Romeo & Juliet is my all time favorite tragedy, (which we will be discussing later). Actually until he wrote this play, love wasn't viewed a good subject for plays, and after this play love became the focus of many plays. Also over the years there have been speculation that he didn't write his works but nothing was ever proven.

SCENE III. A churchyard; in it a tomb belonging to the Capulets

I will be brief, for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife:
I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city,
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
You, to remove that siege of grief from her,
Betroth'd and would have married her perforce
To County Paris: then comes she to me,
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,
A sleeping potion; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death: meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.
But he which bore my letter, Friar John,
Was stay'd by accident, and yesternight
Return'd my letter back. Then all alone
At the prefixed hour of her waking,
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo:
But when I came, some minute ere the time
Of her awaking, here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of heaven with patience:
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy: and, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrificed, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.
We still have known thee for a holy man.
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?
I brought my master news of Juliet's death;
And then in post he came from Mantua
To this same place, to this same monument.
This letter he early bid me give his father,
And threatened me with death, going in the vault,
I departed not and left him there.
Give me the letter; I will look on it.
Where is the county's page, that raised the watch?
Sirrah, what made your master in this place?
He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave;
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did:
Anon comes one with light to ope the tomb;
And by and by my master drew on him;
And then I ran away to call the watch.
This letter doth make good the friar's words,
Their course of love, the tidings of her death:
And here he writes that he did buy a poison
Of a poor 'pothecary, and there withal
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd.
O brother Montague, give me thy hand:
This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
Can I demand.
But I can give thee more:
For I will raise her statue in pure gold;
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet.
As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!
A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Little known fact about me, I was born on the 14th of February, so every year they show Romeo and Juliet on TV, and I remember being 14 years old, having the flu, eating cake and watching the Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo and Juliet, for the very first time and I couldn't forget it ever since. Even though the movie itself does not have the best reviews, but it's one of my favorite ones, I go to it when I need inspiration for my theater. In short this movie means more than words can describe to me and I think that is the reason why I was so invested in the story because as a young teenager it helped me to understand the difficult story better. I know that most of readers consider this tragedy stupid or ridiculous because the plot is basically of two people falling in love, getting married and killing themselves in like the period of three days, however, I have a different view to it so please bare with me while I share my thoughts about why I adore the play so much! 

The World:  It is pretty basic medieval/renaissance period, and the plot is set in Verona, Italy. We have two families who are at war and they are competing in literally every possible way you could think of. Which in itself is really interesting because I always considered the Capulets and Montagues to be like De Medici and The Borgia families of Italy (like super famous and super powerful). The setting is clear I think. 
For those who don't know the plot, I will make it easier. This play is about two kids from both these families who meet, fall in love, and die because their families just hate each other too much. 

The Characters: Just like in any Shakespeare play there are a number of characters, so let's discuss the ones I think matter the most.  Romeo Montague - is the male protagonist. He is young, he is ambitious and he is just like any other son of a rich family. He's cocky and he knows he has power. Juliet Capulet - is the only daughter of the Capulet family. She is the sunlight of that family, loved by everyone, she is kind and obedient, and from the play you can understand that her most closest friend and parent is her Nurse. So the Nurse - basically raised Juliet from when she was a child. She is one of the adult people who knows about the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. Friar Laurence - is the priest that these two families both go to for confession or other religious things. And he is the second adult to know about this love affair because he is the one who marries the two kids. Then we have Tybalt and Mercutio - Juliet's cousin and Romeo's best friend, who absolutely hate each other and for both die. And of course the parents - The Capulets and The Montegues - I think they are the worst parents in the world and they are to blame for the death of their kids. The Prince of Verona - only reasonable adult in the play.

Pluses: The writing itself, the plot, the characters, the story, everything! I just cannot handle how much I love this play! 

Discussion: Now I am changing the minus part into a discussion part because to me this is not a minus, it just makes the play even more awesome! I chose this particular fragment of the play for you to read because it clearly shows the consequences of the choices the adults made! Above I wrote that most people think of stupid story about stupid kids when they think of Romeo and Juliet, some might even find it absurd right? I think that too in a way, but actually I believe that Romeo and Juliet, is a story about how adults hate and inability to forgive kills innocence. I mean think about it for a second. Both Romeo and Juliet were kids, this was their first love and we all had that first love right? We all thought that it would last forever, that you could have died for that person, so did they and they did die for each other. Juliet was fourteen and Romeo a little older, I mean they didn't know better, they didn't know that these feelings might go away or they simply might not even be good for each other, but they were just two kids who fell in love and were failed. Failed by not only their parents but by every adult in this play. The Nurse for one. I think she should have just went to the parents and told them, or the Friar! He married two kids, who clearly didn't know any better, because he wanted glory to be the one who reunited these two warring families! He gave the sleeping drink to Juliet, he failed to inform Romeo. And the parents are no better. They were blinded by hate so badly that they lost their kids. 

'For never was a story of more woe/ Than this of Juliet and her Romeo', I truly believe these lines describe the entire play so good because these kids were simply failed. Failed by their parents, by the adults surrounding them, who did nothing to stop such a horrible thing from happening. So in other words, Romeo and Juliet, is not about two stupid kids killing themselves, it's about how endless hate killed innocence. 

So take a moment to think about it and don't hate dear readers, because blind hate is not always a good idea!

 What did you think of ROMEO AND JULIET?