Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

There isn't a person in the United States that hasn't read some portion of this book in high school. The tragic story of star crossed lovers and the family feud that ended up killing them. Shakespeare has written many plays, but few are as well known as Romeo and Juliet.

 

It follows the story of the Montagues and the Capulets, two families in Verona, Italy that have hated each other for generations. Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love, but know that their families would never allow them to be together. Juliet takes a potion that makes her appear dead, so she and Romeo can escape, but he doesn't realize it's only temporary and kills himself rather than live without her. Juliet wakes and sees her dead lover and kills herself as well.

 

Their deaths make the two families realize how stupid the feud is and they decide to end it. This is a textbook example of a tragedy. Shakespeare never really believed in a Hollywood ending and killing off his main characters was pretty par for the course. I have read this story several times over the years both for personal enjoyment and as a requirement for various classes.

 

I think it's so popular because we have all had that one love that seemed doomed from the start. It could have been the high school romance that couldn't make it through the distance of college. The love who wanted a commitment, but you just couldn't do it. We all have had a love like Romeo and Juliet even if it didn't end in the same way.