Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet

Presentation / Essay (Pre-University), 2001

9 Pages

Free online reading

1. Preface

For the theme of my work I have chosen the effect of the famous Drama “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare.

First I decided to do my work about all of Shakespeare’s work, but it was “Romeo and Juliet” which had always gripped me in a special way.

This idea came into my mind, because in my opinion it is as fascinating as well as it is amazing that the story of those lovers, who at least could unite their own families because of their own death is known by nearly everybody.

Everybody does know the myths of romantic and never-ending love, doesn’t he? Aren’t there always situations in which you see others, or even yourself as such lovers?

The strong appeal and the topicality of this theme might be proved because of so many writers and artists being creative on the suggestion of this theme.

I will sum up the most famous versions by William Shakespeare and Gottfried Keller in detail, but also some others.

2. “Romeo and Juliet“ by William Shakespeare

The story

The drama “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare was written in 1595. If we are able to say that because the chronological order of his work is not clear handed down. There could be some work, which he even did not write down. We even do not know if William Shakespeare really existed. He also could be a fictional person or may be a pseudonym of somebody else. The information we get about this person is that he was probably born on April 23rd in 1564 (St. George’s Day) in Stratford-on-Avon. His parents were John Shakespeare (workman and mayor) and Mary Arden. In 1582, when he was 18, he married Ann Hathaway (*1556, 1623) who was eight years older. They had three children. In 1592 he was as an artist in London for the first time. He was the most famous author of this era. He invested his money in the Globe-Theatre in his birth town. Where he went back to in 1612/13 and lived there until his dead in 1616. Shakespeare wrote dramas, tragedies, comedies and fairytales. He represented the English Renaissance, but he was not a member of the classical period.

His classical education was quite bad. He was not interested in rules of writing dramas.

He even ignored them. Shakespeare created “mixed characters”. Persons who were as good as well as they were bad. As well as everybody is. He did not use a hero.

The fact is, that in the Elizabethan Era, in which he might lived, artists were discriminated and because of that they builded groups. Only men were able to be an artist. As they say Shakespeare was one of them.

The drama of one of his most famous dramas “Romeo and Juliet” was set down in Verona in 1600, as we get to know right at the beginning of the plot “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene). We see two servants of the Capulet family armed with swords, ready to fight with any "dog of the house […] of Montague." The two sites begin to fight. After some minutes the Prince of Verona Escalus appears. He beats down their swords. Lady Montague is glad that Romeo was not involved in the fight, but she then says that her son has been in a melancholy. Romeo than appears. He says he is madly in love with a woman “Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast”.

We get to know that Paris, a noble young kinsman, wants to marry Juliet, Capulets daughter. They will meet at the Capulet’s house at their feast “This night you shall behold him at our feast”. The fact that Juliet and Romeo will meet and fall in love there for the first time is not said to the audience yet. At the famous balcony scene the two swear each other never-ending love, even they know they are ene mies. It does not take long until Friar Laurence marries them. He thought it could be the end of the hate between the two families “For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancour to pure love”.

After there marriage there is another fight. Tybalt kills Mercutio under Romeo’s arm. Mercutio curses both families, the Capulets and the Montagues with "a plague a' both houses." before he dies. Romeo fights again Tybalt and kills him. He flees from the punishment of the Prince, but he spares Romeo from a death penalty, but banishes him from Verona.

Friar Laurence will give Juliet a potion that will make her seem to be dead for forty-two hours. After her family finds her in this death- like state, they will inter her in the family tomb. Friar Laurence will send word of this ruse to Romeo in Mantua and when she awakes from "a pleasant sleep," she will find Romeo there and the two can then return to Mantua together. At the next day, after she had drunk the potion, Juliet is found “dead” by her Nurse.

Than there is Romeo sees, that one of the Montague's servants arrives with word from Verona that Juliet lies dead in the Capulet family's mausoleum. On the basis of this incomplete report (Juliet is not dead but only drugged), Romeo seeks out an apothecary to provide him with poison. He plans to go to the tomb in which Juliet lies and die alongside her.

After standing over Juliet’s body he takes the potion and dies, right at this moment Juliet awakes, sees that Romeo is dead. She kisses his lips, but there are not enough potions for her. So she took the dagger in his hand and stabs herself to death. The last sentences of this drama are said by the Prince “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and Romeo.”

(dtv, Romeo und Julia)

The persons

Escalus , Prince of Verona

Mercutio, a young gentleman and kinsman to the Prince, friend of Romeo

Paris, an noble young kindsman to the Prince

Page to Paris

Montague , head of a Veronese family at feud with the C. Lady Montague

Romeo, Montagues son

Benvolio, Montague’s nephew and friend of Romeo and Mercutio

Abram, a servant to Montague

Balthasar, Romeo’s servant

Capulet, head of a Veronese family at feud with the M. Lady Capulet

Juliet, Capulet’s daugther

Tybalt, Lady Capulet’s nephew

Capulet’s Cousin, an old gentleman

Nurse, a Capulet servant, Juliet’s foster-mother

Peter, a Capulet servant attending on the Nurse Sampson

Gregory Anthony Potpan


Friar Laurence

Friar John

An Apothecary, of Mantua

Three Musicians

Members of the Watch, Citizens of Verona, Masquers, Torchbearers, Pages, Servants


( dtv, Romeo und Julia, Frank Günther )

3. „Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe“ by G. Keller

About 300 years after William Shakespeare hat written „Romeo and Juliet“ there was another man, called Gottfried Keller, who wrote the story “Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe” in 1856.

Gottfried Keller was born at July 19th in 1819. His parents were normal and plain. He had five bothers and sisters, but only one sister survived. His father died when he was five years old. In 1833 he went to an industry school, but soon he was expelled, because of creating unrest. He is going to paint in this time. He fells in love with Henriette Keller, who died right after words. So he went to München to paint romantic pictures. In 1842 he went back to Zürich. In 1861 he became engaged with Luise Scheidegger, who committed suicide in the same year. In 1888 his sister died and two years later in 1890 he dies as well. May be he has chosen the theme of Romeo and Juliet because of his life, which was also a tragedy. He never had the feeling of real love, of never-ending love, like in “Romeo and Juliet” by W. Shakespeare.

This story takes place on a sunny September morning two farmers on their fields plow. The seven-year-old Sali Manz and the five-year girl Vrenchen Marti bring the lunch to their fathers and play then on the abandoned, stony field. When the farmers Manz and Marti plowed their own fields, every one of both tears still another furrow into the other field insid e. Thus becomes more thinner from year to year, until it finally Manz get it. Therefore it comes between both farmers to a controversy, in whose process they loose house and yard by the numerous processes. When they meet after eight years with fishing, the y turn out palpable together after furious insults on a bar, which leads across a brook. Sali and Vrenchen, in the meantime grown-up, succeed it, to separate the arguing fathers. In the following day Sali creeps in the village to Vrenchen. While they go over the field, the cause for the controversy of the fathers was. They meet a black violonist, a land driver, to who this field would have to actually belong as an inheritance. Sali and Vrenchen are first frightened seize themselves however soon and embrace and kiss themselves. Suddenly the father of the girl is before them. Marti flogs its daughter so much that Sali strikes fully anger him with a stone on the heading. Marti is not dead, but remains time of his life mentally confused. After long patient stocks he is in-supplied to a lunatic asylum. His house is auctioneered, and Vrenchen has to leave the yard. Sali comes to it and it decides, on the next day, where Vrenchen the house abandoned around to go to the church in the neighbor village in order to dance there. Festively decorated they meet early on Sunday morning. On the celebration they buy simple rings for each other. Under the edges they see also the black violinist. He even offers to them to come with him and his friends by country to be able to live together. But both are clear itself that is no solution. When the group loose-pulls to celebrate Sali and Vrenchen they solve themselves from them, and decide as desperately see that it gives for no common future under the living persons, this world to leave. They go to the close river, loosen a hay boat, on which they spend their wedding night. On the next day they become dead, but always unites pulled from the river. (Klett, Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe)

4. „Es war die Lerche“ by Ephraim Kishon

The story

Romeo and Julia are alive. Julia woke up - in contrast to the drama by Shakespeare - in time and the two are for almost thirty years married. The marriage did not become so lucky, as the loving of Verona imagined this: Romeos love for Julia yie lded the affection to Lisa (his hot-water bottle). He has become a fatter, putrid, married man, while Julia, at whom the years did not pass also without trace, hides her Sex Appeal skillfully with curlers and ugly clothes. Lucretia, the daughter of the two, is a waked up teenager, she plays passionate guitar and prepares for their parents some problems. Lorenzo, before times the father confessor of Romeo, became the closest trusted friend of Julia. Due to its age he is mentally no longer quite constant on the height and mistaken the pieces of Shakespeare’s works, from which he quotes mismatching quotations. Also the nurse came into the years. She hears badly, the legs want no longer so quite and also the memory leaves ever more. Since years she cares for Julia’s mother, Lady Capulet, for whose fortune Romeo waits already much too long. Shakespeare, called “Willi” got out of the grave, in order to bring the action of its piece nevertheless still in the right plumb. He tries to unite the two loving again. Romeo and Julia accuse to him that he did not his pieces at all! He must confess this - the recorder was not he, but in reality its double, William Shakespeare. The events sharpen themselves too: Lucretia falls in love with Willi, Romeo and Julia argues continuously. Julia draws the conclusions and wants the divorce. Just in this moment Romeo gets to know that Julia’s mother died. If Julia dies too, he would be the sole at his own.

He procured himself with the nurse’s poison, which he pours in Julia’s wine. Also Julia had the same thought: Lorenzo had still another few poison from the piece of original remaining and this comes into Romeo’s wine. The two drink with benefit, confess each other thereby what they did and die blessedly united. Shakespeare is lucky. Finally he can return to his cold grave and rest to peace. Ephraim Kishon, who was born on August 23rd 1924, wrote this story he writes about the everyday life in Israeli.

5. Comparison between the tragedies of W. Shakespeare and G. Keller


One of the parallels between the tragedies of William Shakespeare and Gottfried Keller is that two humans, who are separated by their families, living in controversy, fall in love with each other.

A further is that both Sali and Vrenchen and Romeo and Juliet are not able to see each other. In both cases they marry before they kill themselves.


The disliked families and their social position

The story of G. Keller takes place in a plain atmosphere in contrast to W. Shakespeare’s tragedy, which concerns wealthy families.

The lovers

Another difference between the two tragedies is that Sali and Vrenchen know themselves from childhood.

Romeo and Juliet get to know when they fall in love at the feast at Capulet’s house.

The reason for their death

A further difference is that with Keller’s tragedy Sali and Vrenchen go of full conviction into death. With Shakespeare however Romeo and Juliet kill themselves individually and due to a misunderstanding.

Duration of the tragedies

The duration of the tragedies amounts from Shakespeare only a few days, but Keller’s takes fourteen years.

More differences

A further difference is the fact that Sali strikes a stone against the heading of Vrenchens father Marti who is then finally moved. Another is that the disliked families reconcile themselves after the death of their children in Shakespeare’s play contrary to Keller’s story again. Keller did not write a dear drama, but a social drama in contrast to Shakespeare, because with it is the center of attention not the enmity of the two families, but their fall. When Romeo kills Tybalt he is punished with banishing, since Salis impact on Vrenchens father is discovered of nobody except it, he cannot throw his debt feelings off.


The intention by G. Keller is to be shown it the fact that the having craze of the two farmers Marti and Manz does not only arrange their families as the base but in the long run also drives their children into death.

Gottfried Keller also criticizes also the social atmosphere in his time, because Sali and Vrenchen are not able to live in a world without social standards, which is an offer by the black violinist.

The message of Shakespeare is that a love of such size and perfection cannot find their fulfilment on ground connection and therefore has to end in such a way.

6. My opinion

William Shakespeare

According to my opinion Shakespeare created one of the most interesting dramas here, which unites much in its contents: Love, voltage, murder, suicide... Possibly could one do it in the today's time as “sex and crime”. If one read oneself into the old English, you understand why the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet so many drug along. And it appears as real in the today’s time.

Shakespeare - against better knowledge - again and again wakes hope for a good output of the story, but all activities, plans and projects fails because of the concatenation of unfortunate coincidences, so that the futileness of concerning becomes tragically conscious.

Gottfried Keller

Although I was averse from the book of start, both the style, and the action bound me immediately. Keller writes his story clearly and freely in a course through. This sad story of the two unfortunately loving children points the dangers out, which result from controversy and disfavor. A relatively small cause - the possession of a small piece of field - falls two families into the financial and social ruin and is finally responsible for the suicide of the two children.

Ephraim Kishon

To continue a tragedy in a comedy is a dange rous venture - too easy one can make oneself ridiculous thereby. Kishon understood it in this story to represent with his humor what occurs, if lovers come into the years. Kishon understands it to reproach to the reader with this story a mirror in which he can see the image of his own partnership.

9 of 9 pages


Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
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ISBN (eBook)
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Shakespeare, William, Romeo, Juliet
Quote paper
Daja Villinger (Author), 2001, Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • guest on 11/4/2002

    Shakespeare: R&J.

    Diese Arbeit steckt voller sprachlicher Fehler, scheint nicht korrigiert worden zu sein und ist von Ansatz her indiskutabel. wie kann man dafür eine

  • guest on 3/15/2002

    without a title.


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