Romeo and Juliet (Bantam Classic)by William Shakespeare
Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two
In a society dominated by religion and bound by ties of strict family loyalty, two teenagers are trapped by their secret love. As a dangerous vendetta spills onto the streets, the young lovers are forced to risk all to be together in Shakespeare’s fast-paced tragedy of thwarted love.
Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, this Modern Library series incorporates definitive texts and authoritative notes from William Shakespeare: Complete Works. Each play includes an Introduction as well as an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career; commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers; scene-by-scene analysis; key facts about the work; a chronology of Shakespeare’s life and times; and black-and-white illustrations.
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read an Excerpt
Verona. A Public Place. Enter Sampson and Gregory, armed with swords and bucklers
sampson. Gregory, o’ my word, we ’ll not carry coals.
gregory. No, for then we should be colliers.
sampson. I mean, an we be in choler, we ’ll draw.
gregory. Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o’ the collar.
sampson. I strike quickly, being moved.
gregory. But thou art not quickly moved to strike.
sampson. A dog of the house of Montague moves me.
gregory. To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand; therefore, if thou art moved, thou runnest away.
sampson. A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.
gregory. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.
sampson. ’Tis true; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.
gregory. The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
sampson. ’Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids; I will cut off their heads.
gregory. The heads of the maids?
sampson. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maiden-heads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
gregory. They must take it in sense that feel it.
sampson. Me they shall feel while I am able to stand; and ’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
gregory. ’Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool; here comes two of the house of the Montagues.
Enter Abraham and Balthasar
sampson. My naked weapon is out; quarrel, I will back thee.
gregory. How! turn thy back and run?
sampson. Fear me not.
gregory. No, marry; I fear thee!
sampson. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
gregory. I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.
sampson. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
sampson. I do bite my thumb, sir.
abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
sampson. (Aside to Gregory) Is the law of our side if I say ay?
gregory. (Aside to Sampson) No.
sampson. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
gregory. Do you quarrel, sir?
abraham. Quarrel, sir! no, sir.
sampson. If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.
abraham. No better.
sampson. Well, sir.
gregory. (Aside to Sampson) Say “better”; here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.
sampson. Yes, better, sir.
abraham. You lie.
sampson. Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow. They fight
benvolio. Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do.Beats down their swords
tybalt. What! art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
benvolio. I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me.
tybalt. What! drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Have at thee, coward!They fight
Enter several persons of both houses, who join the fray; then enter Citizens, with clubs and partisans
citizens. Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down! Down with the Capulets! down with Montagues!
Enter Capulet in his gown, and Lady Capulet
capulet. What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
lady capulet. A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?
capulet. My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Enter Montague and Lady Montague
montague. Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not; let me go.
lady montague. Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
Enter Prince with his Train
prince. Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel,— Will they not hear? What ho! you men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mis-temper’d weapons to the ground, And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate. If ever you disturb our streets again Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. For this time, all the rest depart away: You, Capulet, shall go along with me; And, Montague, come you this afternoon To know our further pleasure in this case, To old Free-town, our common judgment-place. Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. Exeunt all but Montague, Lady Montague, and Benvolio
montague. Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach? Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?
benvolio. Here were the servants of your adversary And yours close fighting ere I did approach: I drew to part them; in the instant came The fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepar’d, Which, as he breath’d defiance to my ears, He swung about his head, and cut the winds, Who, nothing hurt withal, hiss’d him in scorn. While we were interchanging thrusts and blows, Came more and more, and fought on part and part, Till the prince came, who parted either part.
lady montague. O! where is Romeo? saw you him to-day? Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
benvolio. Madam, an hour before the worshipp’d sun Peer’d forth the golden window of the east, A troubled mind drave me to walk abroad; Where, underneath the grove of sycamore That westward rooteth from the city’s side, So early walking did I see your son: Towards him I made; but he was ware of me, And stole into the covert of the wood: I, measuring his affections by my own, That most are busied when they ’re most alone, Pursu’d my humour not pursuing his, And gladly shunn’d who gladly fled from me.
montague. Many a morning hath he there been seen, With tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew, Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs: But all so soon as the all-cheering sun Should in the furthest east begin to draw The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed, Away from light steals home my heavy son, And private in his chamber pens himself, Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out, And makes himself an artificial night. Black and portentous must this humour prove Unless good counsel may the cause remove.
benvolio. My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
montague. I neither know it nor can learn of him.
benvolio. Have you importun’d him by any means?
montague. Both by myself and many other friends: But he, his own affections’ counsellor, Is to himself, I will not say how true, But to himself so secret and so close, So far from sounding and discovery, As is the bud bit with an envious worm, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, Or dedicate his beauty to the sun. Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow, We would as willingly give cure as know.
benvolio. See where he comes: so please you, step aside; I’ll know his grievance, or be much denied.
montague. I would thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let’s away.Exeunt Montague and Lady
benvolio. Good-morrow, cousin.
romeo.Is the day so young?
benvolio. But new struck nine.
romeo.Ay me! sad hours seem long. Was that my father that went hence so fast?
benvolio. It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours?
romeo. Not having that, which having, makes them short. benvolio. In love? romeo. Out—
benvolio. Of love?
romeo. Out of her favour, where I am in love.
benvolio. Alas! that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.
romeo. Alas! that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will. Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing! of nothing first create. O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this. Dost thou not laugh?
benvolio.No, coz, I rather weep.
romeo. Good heart, at what?
benvolio. At thy good heart’s oppression.
romeo. Why, such is love’s transgression. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, Which thou wilt propagate to have it press’d With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke rais’d with the fume of sighs; Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes; Being vex’d, a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears: What is it else? a madness most discreet, A choking gall, and a preserving sweet. Farewell, my coz.Going
benvolio.Soft, I will go along; An if you leave me so, you do me wrong.
romeo. Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here; This is not Romeo, he’s some other where.
benvolio. Tell me in sadness, who is that you love.
romeo. What! shall I groan and tell thee?
benvolio.Groan! why, no; But sadly tell me who.
romeo. Bid a sick man in sadness make his will; Ah! word ill urg’d to one that is so ill. In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
benvolio. I aim’d so near when I suppos’d you lov’d.
romeo. A right good mark-man! And she’s fair I love.
benvolio. A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.
Meet the Author
Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Professor of English at New York University, has authored over twenty books of literary and religious criticism. His recent works include New York Times bestsellers, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and How to Read and Why. He lives in New Haven and New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I am in High School, and we used this edition in class, and it was extremely helpful. Not only is it very clear to read, explains well the words you don't know, but it also gives an indepths explanations, on the puns, and etc. which enchances your understanding of the play and your reading experience.
I firmly believe that Romeo and Juliet is something everyone should read in their lifetime. It's a beautiful love story and though, yes, it all happened really quickly, it added to the passion of the whole thing. I will always, always, love this play, and I would reccomend it to anyone looking for a great and tragic love story!
I thought this was a good book, but I needed some explanation on the difficult Shakespearean dialect. I liked the plot and the characters, the only thing was that this story was a legend of sorts that Shakespeare simply wrote down; it wasn't his original idea. Other than that, I thought that it was well done.
Numerated footnotes and explanations on the opposite page made the text easy to follow. My only little complaint is that the tiny font of this series got annoying sometimes. To enlarge it on the nook color, you have to enlarge the page, which becomes bothersome when you have to swipe back-and-forth from one line to the next. All in all, a good version of Romeo and Juliet, whether for the scholar or casual reader.
I read Romeo and Juliet twice; once on my own and once for my freshman English class. It's a little bit hard to understand (make sure you get a copy with footnotes on old language), but an okay story in the end. I love the ending!
Romeo: Juliet is beautiful. Juliet: Romeo is handsom. That is basically all those two do and I love it.
Superior production of Romeo and Juliet. While entire cast was excellent, the Juliet actress brought new insight into this famous character with her confident yet understated performance. No melodrama, no unnecessary sound effects; the poetry of Shakespeare's language was performed as pure literary entertainment with great intelligence and depth. Looking forward to listening to more plays in the Arkangel series. Highly recommended for ages 17 and up.
I THOUGHT THAT THE BOOK/PLAY WAS GOOD BUT SAD
Not a huge fan of the size, but the binding is simply beautiful.
This is a time-saver for sure and will spare students a great deal of confusion. The layout is great, will help introduce younger readers to Shakespeare in a way they can relate to. Even Shakespeare veterans will learn a lot through helpful comments in the text (e.g., definitions, performance notes, historical commentary), although the tone is slightly patronizing.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in American Lingo It can’t be disputed that there is no substitute for the classic Shakespeare work, Romeo and Juliet. According to the book, Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare made clear by Garamond Press, other versions of this story existed before Shakespeare wrote his, and certainly this story moved through time with other versions . These included the 1957 West Side Story musical stage production and the 1961 film which garnered the Academy Award for best picture. This book offers a wealth of information about the history of the era, the traditions and customs of the times, the previous and post versions of Shakespeare work, a synopsis of the play, summaries of each act, explanations of the way the language was used, and a full translation of every set of lines into the American vernacular. This book is an excellent tool for any student assigned to read this work, and for anyone else who really wants to know what the characters in this story are saying.
I found this guide to Romeo and Juliet to be extremely useful. It eliminates the language barrier of a few hundred years or so and allows for a clear and complete understanding of the play. For me, the layout was most helpful. The old text is broken up into small fragments with the modern translation directly below it, allowing me easy transitions between the two translations. Another benefit is the definitions and explanations offered of words and phrases.
This book caught my attention from the very beginning. It opens with a mini history lesson about Shakespeare, his plays, and the people who acted in and watched his plays. I was able to read this book very quickly because of the way Shakespeare’s words are translated into modern English on the same page as the old English. I understand the story a lot more now! This book would be great for someone in school who is studying the story of Romeo and Juliet, and for those of us who have read it and needed a little more help understanding some of the phrases.
Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare Made Clear carefully breaks down Shakespeare’s tragedy into a language that modern readers can understand. It’s a helpful read if you’ve never read Shakespeare before or need a good refresher. The book also provides some interesting information about Shakespearean times.
In providing line-by-line “translations” as well as definitions, this edition of “Romeo and Juliet” thoroughly conveys meaning and context. Regardless of how each individual approaches reading this play, there are many rich attributes in this edition that contribute to a full understanding, including mini introductions to every act; commentary on staging and historical context; and useful summaries and insight.
Garamond Press has a hit. Having updated English next to the old is a huge advantage to the modern reader. This is ideal for students, or for someone who hasn't read Shakespeare or has trouble understanding his antiquated diction. The story of Romeo and Juliet is finally put into our modern love language, and all ages will be able to understand its deeper messages more clearly. Highly recommend.
I have read the story of Romeo and Juliet in the past. Reading this book has given me a whole new understanding. Explaining the language used in a more engaging manner, a historical approach, it helped make the story more comprehensible. This is definitely worth reading if you want to gain a full understanding and get a better feel for that time period.
Your secret weapon to unraveling the meanings behind Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is now within reach! Sometimes just in reading the written work by itself, we tend to miss so much of the meanings and the references and allusions hidden in between the lines. Without a modern day guide, we are only reaching half our potential for drawing as much as we can from Shakespeare’s timeless work. This accompanying guide to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet let’s you access the play very easily by presenting the original text side by side with the modern day translations. With everything from explanations of key phrases to decoding olden day colloquialisms, you won’t miss a beat with this guide!
I remember my first encounter with Romeo and Juliet and some of the utter confusion that followed! This book has allowed my second reading to be much more comprehensible and fun. I would highly recommend to anyone struggling with the old world language of Romeo and Juliet.
This version of Romeo and Juliet supplies readers with appendices of historical context, dramatic structure, character sketches, and major themes throughout the play. Most helpfully, it provides readers with line-by-line contemporary translations of the text, including explanations of phrases and references particular to Shakespeare’s time. If you’re someone who has previously struggled with Shakespeare, Shakespeare Made Clear is a great version to read, as it truly does make Shakespeare clear!
What a great idea to have the original Romeo and Juliet and then to include the translation into modern language on the same page. It’s been 20 years since I’ve read Shakespeare and I thought I had a good understanding but this guide provided more insight and enjoyment of this play. If you have school-age kids, get this book. This guide is helpful if you’re a student, teacher or parent and you need a little help to understand all the nuances of Shakespeare and Elizabethan English.
Welcome back to school for all you students out there, and non students alike. This comprehensive accompanying guide with scene by scene play, pun indented, and short detailed summary of each act, including 21st centaury translations directly below the character lines for comprehensive understanding, is a true steal for its usefulness as well as that A in class. You will absolutely want to purchase Romeo and Juliet ( Shakespeare Made Clear) published by Garamond Press for a full understanding of the play with absolute ease. This read covers rhyme patterns, character development, as well as topics on the generational growth of the story of Romeo and Juliet. From the story line that pre dates Shakespeare all the way to the mentions of West Side Story. The history included in this story is detailed and informative for such a short read. Any one who has to read this play or is reading just out of pure enjoyment of Shakespeare will get the worth of this cliff notes like book.
Let’s face it, Romeo and Juliet is definitely not the easiest story to understand—especially if you’re trying to cram in all of the scenes before a final exam. That’s where this book comes in. The author incredibly translates every line of every scene into a language that anyone born in this century can easily understand. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in getting a better feel for the play than they originally had.
If you’re looking for an ideal accompanying guide to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet then look no further than this complete guide called Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare Made Clear. Almost everyone growing up has had to read this classic and though many people have enjoyed it there seems to be a consistent complaint about Shakespeare’s Elizabethan English which looks and sounds like a foreign language to modern eyes and ears. That’s where the Shakespeare Made Clear accompanying guide comes in. Every line of Shakespeare’s text is translated into modern language and understanding making this an ideal and enjoyable guide to the famous as well as important timeless story.