Shakespeare's Plays of Love and Tragedy:Romeo & Juliet/Antony & Cleopatra.

Essay by LinaraUniversity, Master's November 2003

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What is love? This is a question that many people wonder about and often spend much of their lives in pursuit of. If you look in the dictionary love is simply defined as- 1) strong affection, 2) warm attachment, or 3) beloved perfection. (Webster's Dictionary, 2001) Even with this definition, the concept of love goes further than any concrete definition. My description of love is a force, a feeling, a gift that one should be so lucky to experience within their life; an experience where two people care so much for each other that they both become the center of love and inspiration within their lives. William Shakespeare is a man who was fascinated with the concept of true love. He has focused many of his successful plays on such a theme.

In this essay I will be exploring the classic love stories and tragic relationships of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Antony and Cleopatra."

Both plays are timeless classics of love greater than life itself.

Romeo and Juliet (c1596)

In summary: There is a bitter feud between two Italian families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo (son of the Montague family) sneaks into a ball being held by the Capulets, where he sees Juliet (daughter of the Capulets). The two fall in love at first sight. After the ball there is a fight between Tybalt (family of the Capulets) and Mercutio (Romeo's best friend), in which Tylbalt kills Mercutio. Romeo then kills Tybalt in revenge.

Romeo is banished from the town. Then Juliet's parents decide to marry her to Paris whom she does not love. Juliet seeks the help of Friar Lawrence who gives her a drug to fake her death. Her plan is to fake her death and be buried alive to later escape to elope with...