“These violent delights have violent ends”

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

romeoandjuliet1597As I mentioned in the AMRW TBR list back in December, I got cheated out of reading Romeo and Juliet back in high school. Even in my Shakespeare lit class in college, we read all the obscure plays and completely skirted around this one. I never quite got over it, but I never really did anything about it until now.

I think rating classic lit is one of the hardest things to do, because they’re classics for a reason. Anyone who remotely had an interest in English class knows that Shakespeare was a genius and that his plays are masterpieces. Although  I am taking all that into account, I can’t just give this an automatic five stars for that reason alone. 

If YA books of today are plagued with the instalove, this is like the great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of those books. If I am doing my timing right, this entire play (the meeting, the falling in love, the tragic end) all happens in the span of three days. As great as Shakespeare is, that bugged me throughout the entire reading of Romeo and Juliet. Frankly, I like Shakespeare’s other tragedies (sans teenage *romance*) way more.

Still, Willy Shakespeare was on his A-game when he wrote this one. His skill in the English language is apparent through all the monologues, the sonnets snuck in, and the prodigious amount of wit and play on words (and it’s always alluding to something sexual, the cheeky bastard). Instalove or not, this is some top notch writing, and I have to give him props for that.

Note: I still stand by the tips I gave on reading Classic literature way back when. The only other thing I did this time around was use my Norton Anthology to read this play. All the footnotes gave great context to some of those Shakespearean phrases that are a little out of date (and all the crazy sexual innuendo thrown in there).

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5 thoughts on ““These violent delights have violent ends”

  1. You are so right. Shakespearean works are rife with all the literary stereotypes and clichés we roll our eyes at now. . .except back then they weren’t clichés yet. It’s hard to put it that in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ameliafawkes says:

      Yes exactly! I had seen some list recently of all the phrases we now think of as clichés that were actually written by Shakespeare, and couldn’t help but notice them all when I was reading. Wish I could temporarily “forget” them so I could experience it with fresh eyes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kaptonok says:

    It’s Shakespeares way with words that endears him to so many.
    Plots and other content are just hangers for his poetry. We all know that even back in those days no one ever spoke as he wrote. There is nothing authentic about him except he hung words together as no one else has ever done.
    His other enormous strength is his deep speculation about the meaning of life quite unexpectedly in the middle of a play.

    Liked by 1 person

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