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Performed all over the world, and constantly adapted and reinterpreted in a variety of mediums, Shakespeare’s 1597 tale about the doomed “star-crossed lovers” from enemy families whose tumultuous affair ends in tragedy is one of his best known and most beloved plays. The story of the feuding Montague and Capulet families features the famous balcony scene where the lovers first realize their mutual affection, setting off a series of duels, secret plots, and misunderstandings that eventually leads to one of the most tragic death scenes in all of theater.
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most popular tragedies and has provoked a rich diversity of interpretations. Definitively passionate, it is much more than the archetypal love story: the play tests the limits of tragedy and comedy, challenges gender roles and explores the nature of language. In this Reader's Guide, Gillian Woods: • surveys key critical responses to Romeo and Juliet, from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century • plots a clear route through the vast array of debates, identifying chronological and thematic connections and explaining contexts • investigates major issues and approaches such as deconstruction, psychoanalytical criticism, feminism and queer theory • discusses film adaptations, including Baz Luhrmann's 1996 box-office hit William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Authoritative and accessible, this invaluable Guide provides students, teachers and researchers with a panorama of the play's critical history in all its dynamic variety.