Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous tragedies of William Shakespeare and is composed between 1594 and 1596. The story, which follows the ill-fated love of two young people from two families rivals Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets, rooted in classical tradition (by Xenophon in Ovid, who tells the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in his Metamorphoses) and in the late medieval (Masuccio Salerno, Luigi da Porto). Dante Alighieri will quote the two rival families in the sixth canto of Purgatory, making her a symbol of the political divisions of Italy of the time 1.
Shakespeare re-elaborates deeply this tradition, doing Romeo and Juliet one of the most famous tragedies of world literature and an archetype of reference for any love affair.
In the prologue, composed in the form of Elizabethan sonnet, the corointroduce affair background onto which the story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet in Verona two noble families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are conflict-torn without resolution, causing riots and death and creates confusion among the people of Verona.
Benvolio then meets his cousin Romeo, son of twenty years of Montague, who tells him to have a broken heart: the fair Rosaline, a relative of the Capulets, he made a vow of chastity and is not going to return the love he to try to hear her. Since it is scheduled for the same evening a party at the Capulets who will also Rosaline, Romeo decides to enter secretly to see the young man who loves. Upon arriving at the ball, Romeo note though the daughter of the Capulets, Juliet, who has not yet fourteen, and immediately forgets to Rosalina. Juliet, for which the Capulets have organized the festival, hoping to marry her with the noble Paris, also falls in love suddenly Romeo. The two young men kissing before discovering their identity. Romeo has since checked by Tybalt, who, despite having recognized among the guests, can not drive it on the orders of his uncle, who does not want to bring inconvenience to the guests.
In the second act, we find the famous balcony scene, Romeo, Juliet in the room, listens to loud girl, who confesses the love he feels for Romeo and yet the fear that this could be hampered by the situation the two families. Romeo, realizing that his love is reciprocated, he decided to come out and openly declare his feelings for Juliet. After an urgent meeting Juliet decides to send a messenger to Romeo the next day: the young will need to disclose where and when to celebrate their wedding. The next day Romeo goes to the Franciscan Friar Laurence, to convince him to celebrate marriage and religious consent willingly because he hopes that the union between the two young people can contribute to the pacification of the two families. Juliet in Romeo then sends her nurse, her young confident the plan devised: Juliet will have to go to Friar Laurence using the pretext of confession, and here the two are married. In addition to the nurse it will receive a scale drop during the night from the window of Juliet, that Romeo will meet its beloved. The nurse is also confident in the sights of Paris Romeo, because the young man knows the dangers that must be met.
The third act opens with Tybalt who goes in search of Romeo to challenge him to a duel. Although Romeo try not to exasperate the minds, being now married to Juliet, Mercutio intervenes to defend him and is killed by Tybalt. Romeo, blinded by anger, revenge his friend killing Tybalt. I Capuleti try to convince the Prince of direct responsibility for the death of Tybalt in Romeo, asking for a sentence of death. The Prince, however, in view of the fact that his relative was Mercutio and Romeo acted to avenge a friend, converts the sentence in exile and imposes a fine for both families. Juliet, informed by the nurse of the facts, before sinking into anger over the death of his cousin and then to despair never see her beloved. But the nurse assures her that Romeo is safe at Friar Laurence and that night will go to see her as planned. Romeo and Juliet as well spend the night together, and at dawn the young side for Mantova. The Capuleti however have already organized the upcoming wedding between Paris and Juliet. Young initially refuses, sending his father into a rage, threatening to disown her. Juliet, when she finds out the plans for revenge against the mother's Romeo and understands that the nurse does not want to help her, pretending to agree to the wedding.
In the fourth act, Juliet goes to Friar Laurence, that suggests a subtle plan to avoid marriage and elope with Romeo: the young will have to drink a powerful sleeping potion to simulate for forty hours own death; after, he can escape from Verona with the beloved Romeo. Juliet, even fearful, comes home and performs diligently the floor, while the Friar John to warn Romeo. The nurse, the next morning, he discovers Juliet apparently dead. The young man is placed in the tomb of the Capulets.
In the fifth act, in Mantova, Romeo is oblivious to everything: the city is in a state of quarantine for plague and then Brother John was unable to deliver the message of Friar Laurence. Learned from the funeral of Juliet servant Balthasar, Romeo, desperate, takes poison and, after writing a letter to his father in which he describes the whole story, it left for Verona, to commit suicide beside the body of Juliet. Come to the tomb of Juliet Romeo collides with Paris, which brought flowers on the grave of his beloved. The two are fighting a duel and Romeo kills Paris. Paris before dying asks Romeo to bury him next to Juliet, and Romeo, moved, agrees. Romeo and Juliet can then embrace, for dead, he drinks the poison that is carrying, killing himself. It arrives Friar Laurence, who, sensing the tragedy and seeing that Juliet is going to wake up, try to get her to flee to save her life. Juliet sees the body of Romeo and after kissing him, in the hope that on his lips remained still poison, kills himself by stabbing his chest with his dagger to him.
Upon arrival of the Capulets and the Montagues, followed by Prince, Lorenzo tells the story of the secret marriage; his testimony, corroborated by the letter of his father Romeo, will help make the Montagues and Capulets aware of the pain that their rivalry has caused and to reconcile the two families, who decide to bury along with the two star-crossed lovers.