Now, I know some people are groaning right now because for many Romeo and Juliet is a terrible love story about teenage lust. However, I beg to differ; instead, people may be reading the play wrong. It is important to keep in mind that Romeo and Juliet was not written to be a love story at all – it is a TRAGEDY and therefore should be read as one. The goal of the tale was not for Romeo and Juliet to find undying love, yet this is what people expect when they try and read the play as a love story.
What makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy? Well, it follows the same outline as Shakespeare’s other tragic plays such as Othello and Hamlet. That is: two young people fall in “love,” the young lady goes against her father’s wishes to pursue said love, the protagonist is a sympathetic but not necessarily a heroic character, and in the end when love is either not consensual and/or harmonic many of the characters in the play die (including the lovers) in a claustrophobic – or as is the case with this play – literally a tomb-like scene.
William Shakespeare’s literature is available on the internet in one of two ways: you can either read his original works or adaptations of his plays/poetry (aka Shakespeare Fan-fiction).
Two sites that I particularly love to browse when looking to read stories written by everyday people and not major authors are Wattpad and Mibba; both are websites created to share literature with other people online. This literature is categorized for easy access to what you want to read, but ranges from sci-fi to humor to classics and everything else in-between. It is also completely free to create an account and post your own stories on these sites.
If your interested in reading the original classics then visit Wattpad and in the “Discover” bar at the top of the page simply type in “William Shakespeare.” This will direct you to posts of his plays. Or, follow the links below!
But, if you want to read modern Shakespeare than Mibba may be the site for you (though you can read Shakespeare fan-fiction on Wattpad as well). WARNING: Though I have read fan-fiction before I have not read the fan-fics I am including links for below; however, I did skim them to make sure they’re good. Also, some of them are not yet completed, but most authors are good about updating their stories regularly on Mibba.
Letters to Juliet is a blockbuster film that hit theaters May 14, 2010 (USA). In this film a young journalist by the name of Sophie goes on a grand adventure across Italy with Claire and Claire’s grandson Charlie in search of Claire’s Lorenzo – a man she left when she was young and afraid of risking everything for love. This film, however, is a loose adaptation (otherwise known as an analogue) of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. SPOILER ALERT: Claire and Lorenzo are star-crossed lovers whose parents kept them apart in their adolescence, but Sophie and Charlie are star-crossed as well in their own way. While Claire and Lorenzo may represent the more traditional story of Romeo and Juliet in that they lose their love and each other (though unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, Claire and Lorenzo do not commit suicide, but rather continue living their lives until they find each other many years later), Sophie and Charlie are the anti-Romeo and Juliet in that they beat the odds and all the complications keeping them apart; they find each other, and circumstance allows them to both fall in love and be together.
This is a beautiful story and definitely worth watching! Films such as this one merge the old with the new, the traditional with the innovative and bring Shakespeare to a wider audience in the 21st century. Anyone who appreciates Shakespeare’s plays/film adaptations will be shedding tears and sitting on the edge of their seat until the credits begin to roll.
Below is a video of the official film trailer for Letters to Juliet: