Sunday, June 28, 2009

Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Challenge #1)

by William Shakespeare

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thy tale so loooooong?

I think I would have given Romeo and Juliet 5 stars if only it had been shorter. The story was suspenseful and wonderful; the side stories, not so much. The play started out with a trivial brawl between servants of the Montague and Capulet households, which was clearly an attempt to explain the feud between the two families. However, it wasn't a very good hook; I had trouble keeping track of the servants (thank goodness for the character glossary!) and they didn't really say anything particularly interesting. In fact, I probably would have quit right then if not for the fact that Shakespeare wrote it, since his plays tend to start out slow and pick up speed later on.

All that being said, I actually enjoyed Romeo and Juliet a lot. The writing was poetic in some places and clever in others. I loved all the wordplays throughout the writing, and many of the scenes including servants were particularly funny.

Although, as I said before, the beginning and middle of the book dragged, the climax and ending completely made up for it. I was practically on tenterhooks trying to figure out what exactly would happen next (I knew the gist of the ending, but not the details). The ending lines wrapped up the story really well and left me satisfied.

What I love about Shakespeare's plays is how I can clearly imagine myself acting out the different parts. Although the stage directions were minimal, I could tell what the characters were doing as they said their lines. (After much thought, I decided that I'd like to act as the Apothecary, because he sold poison.)

And my favorite stage direction:


How comical.

Any suggestions for my next Shakespeare book?

My post on the Shakespeare Challenge
Shakespeare Challenge specifics


Q said...

As You Like It is hilarious.

Erin said...

My favorite to read is King Lear.

Milly said...


Judi said...

My favorite was probably Julius Ceaser...I guess because it was the first book I read by him. :P

Priya said...

Q- Awesome! I'll check it out.

Erin- Thanks for the suggestion! I've heard that King Lear is one of the best ones.

Milly- :)

Judi- Julius Caesar was the first Shakespeare book I read too!

Bookworm said...

Hm... Guess I'm going to have to get Romeo and Juliet from the library.

Judi said...

Really? It's one of his best, I think..I'm not a big fan of Romeo and Juliet because they die in the end...I'm not a big fan of irony

Emily Ruth said...

great review! it's interesting hearing your thoughts on shakespeare

much ado about nothing :)

shilpi said...

beutiful writing

enjoy !

Jen said...

I like 12th Night. I'm more for the comedies and the tragedies ^_^

GardenofEdee said...

Recommendation for future Shakespeare...

Tragedy - King Lear
Comedy - Much Ado About Nothing
Romances - The Tempest
I'm not a fan of the Histories...

Summermoon said...

Great review!

My favourite Shakespearean play is As You Like It.

Priya said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, you guys! It looks like I'll be reading a lot of Shakespeare in the future... :)