Romeo and Juliet / Juliet's Story: A Retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet / Juliet's Story: A Retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

4.1 185
by William Shakespeare, Jacqueline Ritten

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These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume.

When Romeo first lays eyes on the bewitching Juliet, it's love at first sight. But though their love runs true and deep, it is also completely forbidden. With family and fate determined to keep them apart,


These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume.

When Romeo first lays eyes on the bewitching Juliet, it's love at first sight. But though their love runs true and deep, it is also completely forbidden. With family and fate determined to keep them apart, will Romeo and Juliet find a way to be together?

William Shakespeare's masterpiece is one of the most enduring stories of star-crossed love of all time. Beautifully presented for a modern teen audience with both the original play and a prose retelling of the beloved story, this is the must-have edition of a timeless classic.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
For teens who sometimes think they invented angst, the ultimate tragedy of these star-crossed lovers is a must-read. To make the 16th-century work more palatable for modern teens, Jacqueline Ritten retells the story in the form of a letter from Juliet to her parents. This prologue elucidates the events leading up to Juliet's drinking the sleep potion that will put her in a deep sleep until her rescue by her lover Romeo. In an epilogue, Juliet's nurse explains the tragic turn of events fourteen years after the deaths of the young lovers. The unabridged play follows; again in an attempt to appeal to young readers, the text is in a large font with plenty of space between the characters' lines. This gives the text a clean, crisp look. It is not certain that most teens would be drawn to Shakespeare, but this paperback seems immediately attractive, with its inky black glossy cover adorned by a single blood-red rose. Hopefully, once they have the book in their hands, teens will turn the pages and be drawn in to the story. Extras such as a modern day teen quiz and Facebook pages for Romeo and Juliet trivialize this great work, adding nothing. Forbidden love, rivalry, and unsympathetic parents all combine in one of Shakespeare's great tragedies. May it find a new audience with today's teens. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Act One


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. Drawthy 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

Enter Benvolio

benvolio. Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do.Beats down their swords

Enter Tybalt

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

Enter Romeo

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

William Shakespeare is the world's greatest ever playwright. Born in 1564, he split his time between Stratford-upon-Avon and London, where he worked as a playwright, poet and actor. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway. Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two, leaving three children—Susanna, Hamnet and Judith. The rest is silence.

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Romeo & Juliet 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This edition is 78 pages long, which doesn't include the entire play and the text is unclean. Do not get this, get a different version. I wasted a dollar buying this version and I'm confused to why there aren't any other reviews like mine.
sparkypan More than 1 year ago
For everyone who gave Romeo and Juliet, the low ratings given were obviously submitted by petulant unappreciative teens who don't know a literary masterpiece when it's thrown in their face! I am sixteen years old and I love this play and this book. All you people who gave low ratings, you obviously didn't take the time to comprehend the story, and that's disappointing because your ignorance deprives you of one of the most thrilling tales of all time.
RIAH-the-WORMI More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I'm twelve and I totally understood it. It is one of the best books I have ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Little hard. Kind of hard to interpret all those huge words. But a very good story, from what i understood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decided to read the book on my nook before I have to read it in paperback for school and being able to look up the definiton of words with a single touch made is SO much easier to read. A beautiful book with a sad ending. 5 stars =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book people 16 or up should read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You have to know that Shakespesre is and artist of liturature. His way with words, the intricity of each line is spectacular if not perfect. His beuatifully composed pieces are not to be criticized. If you are brave enough to take on and read this script by an international hero, read it carefully and well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romeo and juliet is romantic and dramatic it is a great book and really good book and really cheep if you like dramatic and romantic books you should read romeo and juliet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this in junior high. I read it again in 10th grade. Both times I found it ridiculous. Why read this in school? The only lessons this play teaches are that apparently you can fall in love with someone you barely know, and that committing suicide is a romantic tragedy. I don't inderstand how this story was ever relevant at any time. I hope that some day this is taken out of the school curriculum.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an awsome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i looked up romeo and juliet a whole lot of book poped up as romeo and juliet... which one should i pick!?!?!?!?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story! Its true that at some parts it is difficult to understand, but you can see the main idea of that part. The only part that i had trouble understanding was that that they commit suicide. Who commits suicide just because the person that you love is dead? Thats not really a good reason to actually kill yourself. Other than that, i love this book! I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS is not a chatroom people only say things about the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have heard it is a good book and im 15 and cannot wait to read it in class next week sad thing is ill have to interpert the dialogue
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice romsntic novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 11 and I LOVED this book!!! I reccomend you see the movie first before you read the book though (Rome & Juliet starring Claire Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio is my fav) Very sad at the end though :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this thoughtfully and taking my time turned this play from something assigned by school to one of my favorite love stories...well...ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am ten, and I understood this perfectly. Amazing. How does this man spin tales of such power and meaning?? No matter what version you read, the story still touches you. I am also a dancer, and ever since I discovered the story in both book, play, and ballet format, I have been entranced by it. It's my favorite story. I cry when I think of it. My favorite characters are, surprisingly, not Romeo and Juliet, but Tybalt and Mercutio, but that's just me. Thhe book is beautiful, and the play just as good. I would also reccommend renting or buying the ballet version of this and seeing it (especially the duel scenes. ) The Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet have both done amazing productions of the ballet. I cannot express how much this book means to me and how much of an impact it makes in my life. I would give this book every star in tthe sky. I love the story, which touches me so much that I will sit on my bed at night and imagine the story over again and again. The scenes where characters die make me cry. All I can say is that if I only had one book for the rest of my life,this would be it!!!!!!
KKaisl35 More than 1 year ago
This amazing piece of writing, by William Shakespeare, shows a tragic love-story in which two young lovers are troubled by the hate their families have against each other. The book is intended for young adults, while Shakespeare probably wrote this book to bring about a new concept of a romantic-tragic story. Romeo and Juliet is a book worth reading and buying because it shows a unique concept that was well developed and written, and is worth all 5 stars. This book is basically about Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet. These two love each other so much that they are willing to forget their families' feuds to get together in any way possible. Throughout the story, these two lovers face numerous problems that lead to many vital decisions; and some of them go wrong. They have few friends and many people who are against the couple's love. By looking at: the mood's effectiveness, the role of each character, the ideas put in by Shakespeare himself, and the organization of the numerous events throughout this play, you can easily see that this story is able to create the proper picture in the readers' minds. Romeo and Juliet, obviously, were the main characters of the whole story itself. The whole story revolves around them and how they meet and end up loving each other so much that they do numerous things to try get together. The three main characters throughout the play are: Romeo, Juliet, and Friar Lawrence (who plays a vital role of a type of counselor in the story). The story can be described as a tragedy/romance/poetry, which has a very classical type of writing to describe how love was restricted in the time periods between 18th and 19th centuries. This story takes place in an elegant city called Verona, and all the parts of the book take place within 4-6 days! This book has been able to deliver its purpose because readers from every passing generation have read this book and the concept of love has become less of an issue today. Shakespeare probably had one question on his lips while writing this story: 'Why not?' That's the same response that parents have today when their children tell them about the person whom they want to marry. One myth that shares a similar concept to the one this book holds is the ancient Greek myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. With all due respect to William Shakespeare, this piece of writing is worth reading, not only because it is a classic, but also due to the fact that it brings out and describes a unique idea that is definitely worth it all in lots of people's eyes. Some of the reasons why this book is recommended are because it shows: two brave lovers who were defiant enough to cross the line when needed, how the two lovers had only few friends for help, how lots of good and bad plans were made to make situations much weirder, and how all that was being done was for the sake of love and its rights. This book may be viewed poorly by many modern readers, but what everybody needs to see is how such a different idea had brought change, not only in the thinking of people, but also helped mould out a better community. By reading this book you are only earning and not losing anything!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the William Shakespear merchant of venice, of course I know the Romeo and Juliet story, but I can not find a single post about the book, only JUNK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She smiled.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Your name shall be The Plague."