1. Romeo and Juliet Conversion to Film
Romeo and Juliet was most likely written in 1594 or 1595. A silent film of the play was first developed in 1916 and in 1936; a sound version was launched for the first time. The recent film that cast the story in a historical recreation form was first shown in 1968. A much recent film of Romeo and Juliet was produces in 1996 and stared Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.
2. Shakespeare isn’t the Inventor of the Story
The Romeo and Juliet story was actually not an invention of Shakespeare. He most likely heard about it in a poem, Romeus and Juliet written by a poet known as Arthur Brooks in 1562. This was a long, plodding poem but most details in Shakespeare’s piece were lifted from this poem directly including the secret marriage, meeting at the ball, sleeping potion and lovers’ eventual suicides.
3. The Renaissance
The Romeo and Juliet play was set in Verona, in Italy’s Renaissance area that was seen as the center of fashion for Elizabethan England. Apparently, Shakespeare also wrote the play during a period known as The Renaissance, meaning ‘rebirth’. During this time, literature and art flourished. Renaissance writers strived to recreate the wonders of the Romans and Greeks. Specifically, they deeply thought about human nature, stuff like honor and love which is reflected in Romeo and Juliet.
4. Juliet and Paris
During Shakespeare’s time, fathers had the right to choose who their daughters would get married to. It was like a business agreement. Capulet was very keen to married Juliet to Paris because it represented a great business investment. During that time, girls would be married off at a very young age.
5. First Play on Romantic Love
Romeo and Juliet was the first play ever about romantic love. It was the first play to feature a romantic stage kiss.
6. Astrology in Romeo and Juliet
In Romeo and Juliet, there are many instances when the power of stars is used to determine the fate of characters in the play. Astrology was a key part of the English society and each noble family that lived in Italy got horoscopes drawn for kids when they were born. Most astrologers employed by government advised them. Many people held the belief that stars determined the outcome of their lives.
7. Feuds in Elizabethan
In Elizabethan, England, life was extremely violent and feuds would happen all the time. Historians actually try to guess the particular feud that William Shakespeare was referring to. The feud between England’s Long families and Danvers was popular during his time but he most likely went for the one from Luigi da Porto. He referred to the rival families as Capuleti and Montecchi, which is actually feuding families of 13th Century Verona.
8. The Bubonic Plague
The bubonic plague was the plague that Mercutio wished on two families as he took his last breath. This plague stopped Friar John from getting the letter to Romeo. During these days, there were no antibiotic and plagues were so many. The bubonic plague actually broke out in 1563 and 1578 in England.
9. Bubonic Plague killed Shakespeare’s Relatives
Shakespeare’s son, Hammet was killed by the bubonic plague at age 11. His 3 sisters and a brother also died as a result of the bubonic plague. In 1593, there was a huge epidemic of this plague that killed about 5% of London’s population.
During Shakespeare days, and before appropriate medicine arrived, people believed in all types of cures and magic potions. They had total faith in a priest or apothecary who studies plants and made potions that Romeo and Juliet took.