Romeo and Juliet

Content Group

Overview
Romeo and Juliet, William Terriss as Romeo, 19th Century

This play has become the adored icon for doomed romantic love, although the first two acts have a verve and humor missing in the concluding downbeat scenes, which are usually heavily cut. Early productions favored a more positive conclusion in their revisions, including the survival of the lovers, as did Lope de Vega in his treatment of the same story. Throughout Juliet has a charm and verve which wins her more sympathy than the fickle, volatile and over-hasty Romeo, who precipitates their ruin, and who is responsible directly or indirectly for six deaths in Shakespeare's script. Mercutio adds a distinctive eccentricity to the early scenes (see James William Wallack in the role). The Nurse is an archetypal humorous figure: the garulous, sex-fixated crone, like Chaucer's Wife of Bath or La Celestina of Rojas (see Edith Evans in the role). The filmed versions of the play, such as Zeffirelli's, often have more energy and visual appeal than the staged ones (compare, for instance, this 1911 production with Zeffirelli's film). See Performing Romeo and Juliet for a curated tour of this site's materials on the play.

Images
Kyrle Bellew as Romeo: late 19.c
Romeo and Juliet, William Terriss (18?? - 1897) as Romeo
Romeo and Juliet, 1923-4: Jane Cowl (1884-1950) as Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, Guthrie McClintic Co., 1934
Romeo and Juliet, 1911
Romeo and Juliet, Acted for Kinetescope, 1908
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, 2008
Romeo and Juliet, Paramount Pictures, 1968
Romeo and Juliet, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2007
Romeo and Juliet, Bryn Mawr College, 1908
Romeo and Juliet, American Elizabethan Revival, New York, 1930
Romeo and Juliet, Lyceum Theatre, 1909
Romeo and Juliet, Reconciliation of the Montagues & Capulets, 1855
Romeo and Juliet, American Repertory Theatre, 2006
Romeo and Juliet, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1986
Romeo and Juliet, New Theatre, 1911

Pages

Slideshows
Bibliography

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Brown, John Russell, ed. Romeo and Juliet. New York and London: Applause, 2001.

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Romeo and Juliet at Talkin' Broadway.

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Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond