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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Being one of the most famous plays through all time, Romeo and Juliet still captivates readers and audiences around the world. This is a fine example of the fact that time doesn't really have to change us. We can still understand and identify with great stories from a long time ago. Romeo and Juliet is a play that centers around forbiddem love between two young, rebellious people. But the play is much more than that.

There are some parts that would need some explaining. The reason for the long lasting war between the families is never explained. Perhaps it's not important, but it would be interesting to know what caused this hate. Another detail is the age of the star-crossed lovers. They are so young. Is it possible to know and understand love at that age? Especially when just having met the person? Romeo seems to have been as romantically absorbed just some days earlier, and he got over Rosaline fast. Could it, in fact, be more about sexual attraction than real love? Or is that to destroy on of the most romantuc plays of all time? Just some thoughts.

Never the less, it is a strong play with so much emotion and a wonderfully written. It alternates between different forms, some of it rhyme. Those parts are really beautiful. Although, I think some of the beauty gets lost in the translation of such a work. This is a new Swedish translation, and some words just seem misplaced. Even though the prose evolves and changes through time, it still has to fit into a 16th century enivronment.

Everything happens so fast, which is rather common for plays. Deciding to kill, die or love takes a fraction of a second. Why not think everything through for a while? It would have been nice with more of the inner dialogues to follow the characters thoughts leading to their decision. I have not seen the play on stage, perhaps it's different.

This play is about so much more than unconditional love. It is about a difficult world with tough love. It is about parents that choose their daughter's future, and it is about refusing to live one's life on others' terms. Most of all, it is, although tragically and at a very high price, about choosing independence. This play comes alive and really moves and affecte its readers. Perhaps because it is easy to understand the young couple's difficulty that drives them out of this world. It tells us much about women as properties and merchandise, and the consequences when ignoring their opinions and needs. In one way, it is still relevant. Many parents still have their children's future decided even before they really know them. Perhaps it is to take over the family business, going to college or marry someone from the same country or religion. Romeo and Juliet defy their destinies, and take power over them.

A commentary chapter contains a discussion by the translator about underlying themes and structures of the book, including the balance between the families, this rivalty about power. The peace of Verona rests upon this symmetry - almost like a stalement - where none of the families can win. A marriage between Juliet, a Capulet, and Paris, a relative of the emperor, would brake the power balance between the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo's and Juliet's love, born from hate between their families, is what finally restore peace in Verona. That is what is tragic and beautiful. Two young people are sacrificed on the altar of peace.

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