Monday, January 31, 2011

Book 73: Romeo and Juliet and Book Stats.

Title: Romeo and Juliet
Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Written: Between 1591 and 1595ish.
Published: They believe the first copy was in the First Folio in 1597
My Edition: Barnes and Noble Shakespeare (Seen at left)
Pages: 370

Other Works Include: 35 other plays, a slew of sonnets, and some other short pieces.

Like many, my first experience with Shakespeare was Romeo and Juliet in high school. I was in ninth grade and like every other ninth grade girl, I thought it was "the most romantic thing like ever." *sigh*

The newer version of the movie had come out just a couple years before then (you know, the one with Leo?) and I remember being absolutely enthralled with it. I also think that was because of the cuteness of Leo back then, but at least it was Shakespeare, right?

Now that I am older, I have a very different perception of this play. Overall, it is probably one of my least favorites. It does have one of my favorite Shakespearian characters, Mercutio, and is probably the one play I understand the best. But, I think that many of the other plays FAR outweigh this one in power and downright awesomeness.

Perhaps I am also a bit jaded since this is the only play I have taught. And yes, I taught it to ninth graders (while I was student teaching). There are so many other choices for plays to be taught in schools, so perhaps I am just bitter that this is sometimes the only exposure kids have to the wonders of Shakespeare.

In any case, I am looking forward to a quick reread. Like I said, I am very familiar with this play, so I am hoping to pick out some of the fun bits in this one, particularly all the dirty jokes and clever wordplay. :)

This is the 5th Shakespeare play I am reading for my project out of the 16 I have listed. The others I have read were books #4: Much Ado About Nothing, #19: The Winter's Tale, # 36: Macbeth, and #58, The Tempest (we read this in August 2010 for a readalong hosted here). You can click on the "Finished Books" link at the top of my blog to see these titles and my favorite post for each.

I am also reading this title to fulfill a requirement for my Shakespeare Reading Challenge!


  1. Of the tragedies, I much prefer Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet. I've never really bought into Romeo and Juliet.

  2. I always adored Hamlet,and I went to see Othello a couple of summers ago at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London,it was awesome! But Romeo and Juliet always annoyed me a bit-it seems so unlikely...

  3. Coincidentally, we're going to start discussing Macbeth tomorrow in my English Lit class. I don't know anything about the play except that it has witches. LOL.

    Funny enough, I don't like Romeo that much since he was in love with Rosaline first, and forgot about her when he laid eyes on Juliet. But maybe I should give this play another chance...

  4. Ugh, I hated Romeo and Juliet. It's a short play, but it took me hours to finish it, because every other page I had to close the book, roll my eyes and wonder how in the world this is considered romantic. My European Lit professor wasn't thrilled when I said that exact same thing in class, though ;) Looks like he's a fan.

  5. YESH! R&J just drive me nutso. Overdramatic, overly emotional little prats. Even in high school, I was a bit disgusted with the story. I had already read King Lear and Macbeth on my own, so going from those to R&J was a serious letdown.

  6. I love Macbeth! By far my favorite.

  7. I actually really hated this play in high school...makes me wonder if I'd like it now?

  8. I am also not as enchanted with this play as I was as a teenager. However, I have seen it performed twice in the past few years and what it really brought out for me is how much this is a play about teenagers. Juliet is 13 or 14 years old. I think it really captures the emotionality of those years, and so it is probably a great play to teach to teens.

  9. P.S. I also think it would be really fun to teach it together with A Midsummer Night's Dream since he wrote them at the same time, and the mousetrap play in MSND, spoofs R&J.

  10. I recognize the flaws in Romeo and Juliet, and I never thought it was romantic in the first place, but every scene with Mercutio (all, like, two of them?) pops so vividly I don't care about how silly the rest of the play is (very, very silly indeed). So it remains one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Good thing for Shakespeare he put Mercutio in there, or everyone would make fun of him for this one.

  11. My 9th grade teacher made a point of discussing all of the sexual innuendos found throughout the play. It was nice to have a more jaded approach to it. I was never a R&J fan. My favorite has always been Much Ado About Nothing.

  12. I read this in 9th grade as well--and was still a bit too young to fall for the romance. Instead, I spent the whole time laughing. I mean, *spoiler* one pretends to die, then the other does, then the first dies again and then the second... Sounds like Saturday Night Live. Or, uh, the play within a play in Midsummer Night's Dream....

  13. I guess I can't really say that R&J is a favorite, although it was the first Shakespeare I a)saw and person and b)read, so I suppose it had a default favorite status for a while, but all in all, I think I much prefer his comedies.

    I don't know if my high school was unique, but we had to read (4) of Shakespeare's plays: R&J as freshman, Julius Caesar as sophomores, and if you were in AP English (maybe college prep English as well?), both Hamlet and Macbeth senior year. No comedies--I had to read those on my own!

  14. The year I read this is the year the new movie came out--so we watched the old version (from the 60s) in class after we'd read the play.

    This isn't one of my favorites either--I've become much more fond of his comedies, though I should read more of his tragedies. I'm sorry to have missed The Tempest readalong--think it was September when I first learned of your blog through BBAW!