Thirty facts about Romeo and Juliet
Taylor Swift, rapiers, consummation, John Milton, balconies
The most read pages in the First Folio at the Bodleian library in Oxford are the ones with the lovers’ first meeting in Romeo and Juliet.
In another copy of the First Folio, a reader has left extensive markings against R&J, notably against the lyrical passages and lovers’ dialogue. That was John Milton’s copy.
Taylor Swift’s 2008 song ‘Love Story’ is based around an R&J style fantasy with a happy ending.
Many theatres were closed between 1592-94, due to plague, and Shakespeare wrote lyric poetry in that time. In 1595, R&J shows the marks of a newly lyrical mode of expression in his play writing.
When Romeo compared Juliet to the sun, the original audience would have looked up at Juliet on the stage balcony and had to shade their eyes from the afternoon sun.
Six roles dominate the play—Romeo, Juliet, the Friar, the Nurse, Mercutio, Capulet. This is not true of any other 1590s tragedy. R&J is an ensemble play.
R&J was probably performed at the Theatre, which was in the suburbs outside the north eastern boundary of the City, the Curtain which was on the main road into the City, and the Globe, on the south bank. Unlike the polygonic Globe, the Curtain was a large rectangular theatre.