Romeo and Juliet context

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  • Context for 'Romeo and Juliet'
    • Brooke's 'Romeus and Juliet'
      • plot involving a family feud  taken from a popular folktale
        • first translated to English by Arthur Brooke in 1562
        • cautionary message - warning readers
        • Shakespeare made Juliet 2 years younger and expanded the roles of Paris, Mercutio and the Nurse
    • Elizabethan fencing
    • Same-sex friendhsips
      • in early modern period, they were held with high-esteem
      • sometimes the friendships were intense but platonic
        • occasionally the intimacy created a framework for the exploration of same-sex relationships
          • Mercutio's banter with Romeo has sexual elements and critics argue whether it suggests sexual desire
    • Syrian Romeo and Juliet
    • Masked Players
      • masks were a common feature of entertainment and daily life in early modern Italy
        • may have inspired masquers and torchbearers in 1:4
    • Adaptations - 'West Side Story'
    • Conduct books
      • gave women moral + practical guidance on all aspects of life
        • Vives' book (1523) is progressive in some ways but foregrounds virtues of chastity and obedience still
    • Civil unrest and violence
    • Shakespeare sonnets
      • sonnet form originated in 13th century Italy, brought to England in the 16th
      • he published a collection of sonnets in 1609
      • he sometimes incorporated sonnets into his plays, e.g. the first kiss in R+J
    • Palestinian - Israeli adaptation
    • Young protagonists
    • Gerard's 'Herball' and poisons


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