Filled with plots, murder and intrigue, this quintessential tale of forbidden romance has withstood the test of time. The son of a wealthy family, Romeo, finds himself falling deeply in-love with Juliet, the daughter of their sworn enemy. Cruelly torn apart by the family feud, Romeo and Juliet swear their love to one another and vow to one day be together. Tragic, filled with costly mistakes and seemingly inescapable commitments, the play sees the two lovers lives and deaths finally entwine, reaching a dramatic and heartbreaking conclusion.
This was a very odd pick for me. As with any student who has passed through the Australian education system, I have a deep-rooted love/hate relationship with William Shakespeare. Admittedly, I do not read enough of this type of literature, so one rainy day, on a whim, I plucked this piece from my bookshelf and read the story in short increments across three nights.
Now, over the course of this new reading experience, a number of things proceeded to happen. 1. My internal monologue, for up to an hour afterward, took on a melodic flow and occasional rhyme, as if a continuation of the story, which was disorientating. 2. My dreams got really weird, like, really weird – reading this book before bed was perhaps not the greatest decision I have ever made, as my dreams consistently began taking on an unearthly ebb throughout the night. 3. I found myself…well, enjoying Shakespeare! Something I frankly considered to be an impossibility. Gone was the tear inducing boredom of forced readings and essays from my high school days, replaced by an appreciation for Shakespeare’s penmanship and storytelling.
I quite enjoyed the characterization in this story. Although Romeo and Juliet are extremely unrelatable and at times the drama is over the top, I couldn’t help but fall for the story. I think we all have a relatively clear grasp of this classic plot, absorbed through years of pop-culture references, but the elements brought to the piece through the classic reading really does add to the tale. Additionally, Shakespeare’s undeniable way with words makes the reading experience ultimately worth while.
So, if you, like me, have a tarnished view of Shakespeare, and ever feel the compulsion to begin reading one of his stories, Romeo and Juliet is a great place to start. You never know, you may end up enjoying it (I know, I can’t believe it either)!
Give it a read: 3 stars