Romeo & Julietby William Shakespeare
Award-winning director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom) has updated Shakespeare's classic tragedy of young love and teen suicide in a unique new film, in which the warring Capulets and Montagues are gangsters who carry guns instead of swords. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries) and Claire Danes (My So-Called Life, Little Women) as the doomed lovers, the film is set in a modern city. The actors speak Shakespeare's words--but with their own American accents.
Readers can now experience this new vision of Shakespeare's violent, tragic play alongside the Bard's original text, in a special single volume that features an introduction by the film's director.
Read an Excerpt
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Oldcastle BooksCopyright © 2014 William Shakespeare
All rights reserved.
ACT I, SCENE I
Verona. A public place.
Enter SAMPSON and GREGORY, with swords and bucklers, of the house of Capulet.
SAMPSON Gregory, on my word we'll not carry coals.
GREGORY No, for then we should be colliers.
SAMPSON I mean, and we be in choler, we'll draw.
GREGORY Ay, while you live, draw your neck out of 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 runn'st 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 civil with the maids, I will cut off their heads.
GREGORY The heads of the maids?
SAMPSON Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; 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 of the house of Montagues.
Enter two other servingmen, ABRAM 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 disgrace to them if they bear it.
ABRAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
SAMPSON I do bite my thumb, sir.
ABRAM Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
SAMPSON [aside to GREGORYITL] 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?
ABRAM Quarrel, sir? No, sir.
SAMPSON But if you do, sir, I am for you. I serve as good a man as you.
ABRAM No better.
SAMPSON Well, sir.
GREGORY Say 'better', here comes one of my master's kinsmen.
SAMPSON Yes, better, sir.
ABRAM You lie.
SAMPSON Draw if you be men. Gregory, remember thy washing blow.
BENVOLIO Part, fools, put up your swords, you know not what you do.
What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
I do but keep the peace, put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:
Have at thee, coward.
Enter three or four Citizens with clubs or partisans.
Clubs, bills and partisans! Strike! Beat them down!
Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!
Enter old CAPULET in his gown, and LADY CAPULET.
What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?
Enter old MONTAGUE and LADY MONTAGUE.
My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.
Thou villain Capulet! Hold me not! Let me go!
Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
Enter Prince ESCALUS with his train.
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 mistemper'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 farther pleasure in this case,
To old Freetown, our common judgment-place.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
Exeunt all but Montague, Lady Montague, and Benvolio.
Who set this ancient quarrel new abroach?
Speak, nephew, were you by when it began?
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.
O where is Romeo, saw you him today?
Right glad I am he was not at this fray.
Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east
A troubled mind drive me to walk abroad,
Where underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city 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,
Which then most sought, where most might not be found,
Being one too many by my weary self,
Pursu'd my humour, not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.
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?
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.
See where he comes. So please you step aside;
I'll know his grievance or be much denied.
I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let's away.
Exeunt Montague and Lady Montague.
Good morrow, cousin.
Is the day so young?
But new struck nine.
Ay me, sad hours seem long.
Was that my father that went hence so fast?
It was. What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?
Not having that which, having, makes them short.
Out of her favour where I am in love.
Alas that love so gentle in his view
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.
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 anything of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen 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?
No coz, I rather weep.
Good heart, at what?
At thy good heart's oppression.
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 made 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.
Soft, I will go along;
And if you leave me so, you do me wrong.
Tut, I have lost myself, I am not here.
This is not Romeo, he's some other where.
Tell me in sadness who is that you love?
What, shall I groan and tell thee?
Groan? Why, no, but sadly tell me who.
Bid a sick man in sadness make his will?
A word ill-urg'd to one that is so ill.
In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.
I aim'd so near when I suppos'd you lov'd.
A right good markman; and she's fair I love.
A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.
Well, in that hit you miss; she'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow, she hath Dian's wit,
And in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From love's weak childish bow she lives uncharm'd.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold;
O she is rich in beauty, only poor
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.
Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste.
For beauty starv'd with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,
To merit bliss by making me despair.
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead, that live to tell it now.
Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.
O teach me how I should forget to think.
By giving liberty unto thine eyes:
Examine other beauties.
'Tis the way
To call hers, exquisite, in question more.
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows,
Being black, puts us in mind they hide the fair.
He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost.
Show me a mistress that is passing fair;
What doth her beauty serve but as a note
Where I may read who pass'd that passing fair?
Farewell, thou canst not teach me to forget.
I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt.
ACT I, SCENE II
Verona. A street.
Enter CAPULET, PARIS and a Servant.
But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike, and 'tis not hard I think
For men so old as we to keep the peace.
Of honourable reckoning are you both,
And pity 'tis you lived at odds so long.
But now my lord, what say you to my suit?
But saying o'er what I have said before.
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years.
Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.
Younger than she are happy mothers made.
And too soon marr'd are those so early made.
Earth hath swallow'd all my hopes but she;
She is the hopeful lady of my earth.
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart,
My will to her consent is but a part,
And she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.
This night I hold an old accustom'd feast
Whereto I have invited many a guest
Such as I love, and you among the store:
One more, most welcome, makes my number more.
At my poor house look to behold this night
Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light.
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparell'd April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house. Hear all, all see,
And like her most whose merit most shall be;
Which, on more view of many, mine, being one,
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.
Come go with me.
[To Servant] Go sirrah, trudge about
Through fair Verona, find those persons out
Whose names are written there, and to them say,
My house and welcome on their pleasure stay.
Exeunt Capulet and Paris.
Find them out whose names are written here.
It is written that the shoemaker should meddle with his yard, and the tailor with his last, the fisher with his pencil, and the painter with his nets, but I am sent to find those persons whose names are here writ, and can never find what names the writing person hath here writ. I must to the learned. In good time.
Enter BENVOLIO and ROMEO.
Tut man, one fire burns out another's burning,
One pain is lessen'd by another's anguish;
Turn giddy, and be holp by backward turning.
One desperate grief cures with another's languish;
Take thou some new infection to thy eye
And the rank poison of the old will die.
Your plantain leaf is excellent for that.
For what, I pray thee?
For your broken shin.
Why, Romeo, art thou mad?
Not mad, but bound more than a madman is:
Shut up in prison, kept without my food,
Whipp'd and tormented and – good e'en, good fellow.
God gi' good e'en: I pray, sir, can you read?
Ay, mine own fortune in my misery.
Perhaps you have learned it without book.
But I pray, can you read anything you see?
Ay, if I know the letters and the language.
Ye say honestly; rest you merry.
Stay, fellow, I can read. [He reads the letter.]
Signor Martino and his wife and daughters;
County Anselm and his beauteous sisters;
The lady widow of Utruvio;
Signor Placentio and his lovely nieces;
Mercutio and his brother Valentine;
Mine uncle Capulet, his wife and daughters;
My fair niece Rosaline and Livia;
Signor Valentio and his cousin Tybalt;
Lucio and the lively Helena.
A fair assembly. Whither should they come?
Whither to supper?
To our house.
Indeed I should have asked you that before.
SERVANT Now I'll tell you without asking. My master is the great rich Capulet, and if you be not of the house of Montagues I pray come and crush a cup of wine.
Rest you merry.
At this same ancient feast of Capulet's
Sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so loves;
With all the admired beauties of Verona.
Go thither and with unattainted eye
Compare her face with some that I shall show
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.
When the devout religion of mine eye
Maintains such falsehood, then turn tears to fire,
And these who, often drown'd, could never die,
Transparent heretics, be burnt for liars.
One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun.
Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by:
Herself pois'd with herself in either eye.
But in that crystal scales let there be weigh'd
Your lady's love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well that now seems best.
I'll go along, no such sight to be shown,
But to rejoice in splendour of mine own.
Excerpted from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Copyright © 2014 William Shakespeare. Excerpted by permission of Oldcastle Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
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.
I absolutely loved this book! I'm twelve and I totally understood it. It is one of the best books I have ever read!
Little hard. Kind of hard to interpret all those huge words. But a very good story, from what i understood.
The tragic love story! 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!
Highly Reccomended! First of all I found no issues with formatting and all of the navigation links work as inteneded. This was a very good book and I enjoyed this book throughout. I feel that there is alot to learn from this book. Shakespeare's connotation and diction really help the reader to understand and evaluate the interests of William Shakespeare himself. The reader can really see the chemistry between Romeo and Juliet because Shakespeare is so descriptive in his writings. Juliet's fate was determined ultimatly through fate. It was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together, and it was fate that made their families enemies. Other characters in his play that comtributed to Juliet's demise would be Juliet's Nurse, Friar Lawrence, Capulet, and pretty much every other chacacter in his play. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was a very good book and I would highly recomend it! :)?
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 =)
It was a good book people 16 or up should read it
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.
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
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.
It was an awsome book
When i looked up romeo and juliet a whole lot of book poped up as romeo and juliet... which one should i pick!?!?!?!?
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.
THIS is not a chatroom people only say things about the book.
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
Nice romsntic novel
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 :(
Reading this thoughtfully and taking my time turned this play from something assigned by school to one of my favorite love stories...well...ever.
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!!!!!!
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!
I love this book so much ! I would highly recommend reading it and also watch the movie, both are absolutely and i guarantee you will love it to
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.