Talk:Romeo and Juliet

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August 21, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
July 21, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
November 22, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

RfC: about Arthur Brooke's and John Swan criticizing the play[edit]

NAC: This RFC was not well-formed in that it did not request !votes and it is difficult to identify specific opinions. However, to the extent that there is consensus, it is that Brooke did not criticize the play before it was written, but that he was an influence on it before it was written because his previous work was one of Shakespeare's sources. A better-formed RFC with a Survey section would be useful if this consensus is disputed. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:06, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Is it possible that Arthur Brooke's criticized the play before it was published - we say he was an influence in this article ? And is John Swan famous for criticizing the play - if so what did he say?-- Moxy (talk) 09:11, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Background of edit war[edit]

I have reverted for the second time the addition bellow. We have two problems with the edit. First the play borrowed some themes from Arthur Brooke and as for John Swan if I am not mistaken he added a few lines to some guys quote. In any case if this was the norm we should be able to find more then this one source that cant be seen (as seen below in the quote box) . -- Moxy (talk) 22:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

The earliest known critic of the play, writing in 1562, was Arthur Brooke in his section titled "To the Reader" printed in The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet. This was followed in 1635 by comments from the critic John Swan writing in Speculum Mundi.Harold Bloom (2009). Romeo and Juliet. Infobase Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-4381-1476-7. 

Previous editor has reverted twice a fully cited and referenced addition to this Wikipage without having any reference or citation to do so. Previous editor appears to have a personal point of view which contradicts Professor Harold Bloom of Yale University in his book about Romeo and Juliet, and has no citation to support his/her contradiction of the published and cited opinion of Professor Harold Bloom as to the useful history of criticism and commentary on this play. Therefor my edit is applying a second revert to restore the fully cited and published viewpoint of Professor Harold Bloom. Previous editor should note that after their making two reverts already for his/her uncited and unreferenced edit, that the next revert will be a 3RR violation of Wikipedia policy and that the previous editor has been informed of edit warring on their Talk page as well. Previous editor has presented no citation for their revert supporting their contradictory personal opinion against the published text by Professor Harold Bloom, and the previous edit is restored. FelixRosch (talk) 20:23, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
Pls follow our basic procedure and seek consensus for your edit that has been contested. The sources were placed on your talk page and now below..please explain to the world how its possible someone criticized the play before its written. Let me explain again... as explained in the book and this article. "Romeo and Juliet takes its basic story line from Arthur Brooke's long narrative poem" - this is before the play is written so cant be criticizing the play that is not written yet...source William Shakespeare (2008). Romeo and Juliet. Yale University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-300-13828-3. . As for Swan all he did was quote a speech by Friar Lawrence..source Richard Dutton; Jean E. Howard (2008). A Companion to Shakespeare's Works, A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: The Tragedies. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 131 (note:24). ISBN 978-0-470-99727-7. . Can you quote the criticisms from the book because no other source can be found? -- Moxy (talk) 08:14, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
The text of "To the Reader" can be found here. It doesn't mention Shakespeare or make any reference to his play, which is something you can see for yourself. Formerip (talk) 12:18, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


The authoritative Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd edition 1997, edited by various academic luminaries from Harvard, Cambridge etc, says about R&J on p.1101:

Shakespeare's direct source was ... a poem by Arthur Brooke, based on Boiastuau and published in 1562. The Tragical History of Romeus and Juiet, 3,000 line of verse in poulter's measure, is a very dull work. But it had some popularity and was reprinted in 1587. Shakespeare adapts Brooks freely, but he obviously had the poem on his desk or in his head.

The author of this particular section is Frank Kermode. It seems fairly certain (to me at least) that the 1562 Brooke work cannot have contained criticism of the Shakespeare play.
Balaenoptera musculus (talk) 17:37, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Prof Bloom believes that William Shakespeare adapted his version of Romeo and Juliet from a previous version of the play written before Shakespeare was born, and therefore Prof Bloom published his analysis that the informed history of criticism and commentary about Romeo and Juliet should start before Shakespeare's adapted version from the original version. FelixRosch (talk) 20:48, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
@FelixRosch: Interesting - I hadn't realised that. I think he's in a minority within academic circles, do any other RS agree with him? Balaenoptera musculus (talk) 20:56, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
We could say that the general academic consensus is one way but Bloom's view is different. Best of both worlds? --Balaenoptera musculus (talk) 20:57, 2 June 2014 (UTC) Reposted by FelixRosch (talk) 17:04, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Interesting point but we still have a problem. If secondary reliable published sources do not include the information that you have found only at one source, then that information is—by definition—not important enough to include or may be a part of a fringe theory. Is this train of though published anywhere else? Can you quote the source your using so we can all see its context. -- Moxy (talk) 18:05, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The topic of this article is Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. With the exception of The Tempest, Shakespeare's plays are based on earlier texts - poems or plays; however, when saying in this article "Romeo & Juliet" or "the play" or similar wording, then the topic is Shakespeare's play, not any other version, either before or after. If the intention is to write about another play, then that must be made clear. So, "The earliest known critic of the play...." would be confusing if talking about an earlier play, so that needs to be made clear: The earliest critical commentary on the Romeo & Juliet story is Arthur Brooke's 'To the Reader' in reference to the 1562 narrative poem "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet" from which Shakespeare took plot ideas. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:47, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm with Balaenoptera musculus: Bloom, though I reckon he's generally wrong, is a huge deal in Shakespearean scholarship, so his dissenting opinion from the academic consensus is important. And SilkTork, the suggestion is not that Romeo and Juliet was based on an earlier source - that goes without saying - but that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a redraft of an earlier play.Thom (talk) 12:29, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Criticize the play before it was written again?[edit]

FelixRosch can you read the article as a whole some of the info your inserting is already there and the other point is disputed. Please read the Lead and section Sources...where we mention where some influences come need to say this 3 times in one article. I am concerned Felix is not aware of the meaning of "critical commentary" Felix pls read the RfC close - Note how its says "to the extent that there is consensus, it is that Brooke did not criticize the play before it was written". Felix your edit here reinserted the text that the RfC close talks about and the John Swan stuff that also has no support for inclusion. -- Moxy (talk) 00:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Hello SilkTork: Your good suggestion for the edit on Romeo and Juliet I had posted there after the RFC was recently closed out. It looked like the best edit version among the general consensus. A single editor has removed it. Could you glance at this? FelixRosch (talk) 16:05, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

I've had a look. I assume you are talking about this edit. It looks like the contents of that edit are disputed, in which case you need to discuss the matter on the talk-page to find out the reasons for the disagreement. I would suggest that the disagreement relates to the way it has been worded which is to confuse critical commentary on Shakespeare's play with sources for the play. Though I gave a suggested wording, I didn't apply it to the article; if I was to introduce that wording or similar, I would place it in the Sources section not the Critical history section. I hope that helps. SilkTork ✔Tea time 11:05, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Support for suggestion by User:SilkT with consensus. All of the responses to the RFC acknowledged the previous, earlier version of the play as relevant with the exception of one editor opposing. As the one editor opposing, it is up to you to come closer to the consensus represented. The edit of User:SilkT is supported by User:FelixR. Policy is for you to establish consensus on this Talk page prior to further editing. You have no support for your edit. FelixRosch (talk) 16:08, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Felix can you please stop adding the same disputed stuff over and over and over - at this point we consider this to be unacceptable, disruptive, tendentious, or dishonest. As User:SilkTork clearly said above you need to gain consensus to insert your edits (they are disputed and is why there was a RfC above). If you continue to ignore other editors there will be consequences - you seem to be having this problem on many pages at one time...this is very concerning. Can you take the time to read over Wikipedia:Expectations and norms of the Wikipedia community before editing anything again. After looking at your recent contributions I see this is a wider problem, thus i have filed a report at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring -- Moxy (talk) 22:56, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

In line with Shakespeare's original?[edit]

This section of the introduction contains an enormous fallacy regarding editing history. The "original" is an enigma and "best" editions are putative and speculative at best. Acknowledge the intricacies of these plays' editing history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Weasel Words[edit]

In the statement 'Juliet visits Friar Laurence for help, and he offers her a drug that will put her into a deathlike coma for "two and forty hours."' the word drug is followed by a "weasel words" tag. The drug is described as being in a vial, but the exact name of the drug is unspecified, therefore how can this issue be resolved? (talk) 09:01, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

I believe that in the play the term Friar Lawrence refers to what he gave Juliet is "distilled liquor". Later when he is talking to the Prince he calls it a "potion". The only time the word "drug" is used in the play is in reference to the poison that Romeo got from the Apothecary. Mediatech492 (talk) 20:25, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think this is contentious. I have replaced "drug" with "potion" and removed the "which?" tag Spborthwick (talk) 07:43, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Balcony scene section edit[edit]

Under the "balcony scene" heading in the existing article (6.7), Lois Leveen is cited as the first to note that the term "balcony" didn't exist in the English language when Romeo and Juliet was written and that this is a window scene and not a balcony scene. While her Atlantic article does make these excellent points, they are not at all new to scholarship. Recently, both Adam Zucker and Mimi Yiu have written extensively about this issue and the history of balconies in English drama. I would like to see them cited alongside this October 2014 article, as their scholarship predates Leveen's piece.

Citations: [1] [2] (talk) 08:14, 27 February 2015 (UTC)Emma Atwood


  1. ^ Yiu, Mimi. “Facing Places in Richard Brome’s The Weeding of Covent Garden.” Early Theatre 10.2 (2007): 149-158.
  2. ^ Zucker, Adam. The Places of Wit in Early Modern English Comedy. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 2011.

Kid-friendly section[edit]

Is there a way that we can create a section that would be especially conducive to a younger audience? Kids' first exposure to Shakespeare is usually Romeo and Juliet. I am just not sure if we are doing enough here to be pierced through by a more youthful readership. I am not sure how this fits into the overall mission of Wikipedia but I think we owe it to up and coming generations to try to make Shakespeare approachable. I am just wanting to open up the conversation. I don't have any specific ideas about what I would change but I do wonder if this line of thought resonates with anyone else. I think this is especially topical for Romeo and Juliet where it may not apply to other of the Bard's works.Bhanks (talk) 04:34, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

That is outside the scope of Wikipedia. However, I will point you to the R&J article on Simple Wikipedia: Machuvius (talk) 16:37, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
Is it? My first one was Macbeth as an actual play and Hamlet via To Be or Not To Be, and I have a feeling that generally the first exposure may well be quite often the Midsummer Night's Dream. "Romeo and Juliet" is a household name of course, but precisely because the content is somewhat known, it is not usually read or seen on stage as long as the child still believes that (a) sexuality in general, or (b) passionate love between man and woman, is something embarrassing - which they do until (a) or respectively until some time after (b) they reach puberty.-- (talk)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 January 2016[edit] (talk) 17:32, 6 January 2016 (UTC) 'Da Porto gave Romeo and Juliet most of its modern form, including the names of the lovers, the rival families of Montecchi and Capuleti, and the location in Verona.[10] He also introduced the characters and names of Mercutio (Marcuccio Guertio), Tybalt (Tebaldo Cappelleti), Count Paris (conti (Paride) di Lodrone) and Friar Laurence (frate Lorenzo). Da Porto presented his tale as historically true and claimed it took place a century earlier than Salernitano had it, in the days Verona was ruled by Bartolomeo II della Scala (anglicized as Prince Escalus). In da Porto's version Romeo takes poison and Giulietta stabs herself with his dagger.[16]'

Please, note that the mode of death of Juliet is NOT by the dagger: she holds her breath long enough to be able to die. The most reliable source is the very Luigi Da Porto's novella: 'Giulietta e Romeo': 'E detto questo, la sua gran sciagura nell'animo recatasi, e la perdita del caro amante ricordandosi, diliberando di più non vivere, raccolto a sè il fiato, ed alquanto tenutolo, e poscia con un gran grido fuori mandandolo, sopra il morto corpo morta si rese'.

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. --allthefoxes (Talk) 06:29, 11 January 2016 (UTC)