William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, first published in 1597, is considered to be the first romantic tragedy ever written. It isn’t, however, a tragedy on the scale of Othello, Hamlet or King Lear but more a tragic series of misunderstandings. These are caused by the ongoing quarrel between the Montague and Capulet families (who really did exist!).
Romeo and Juliet The tragic young lovers Romeo and Juliet are still too young to fall into the ancient requirement of a tragedy, that they are caught out by their own flaws. Their very innocence prevents this.
With the writing of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare began the era of modern drama, an era where the lives of ordinary people became just as important as the lives of the great. This isn’t the story of kings or queens, generals or emperors but just two young teenagers caught up in events beyond their control.
Juliet’s house balconySo vivid are Shakespeare’s settings for Romeo and Juliet and so descriptive the famous balcony scene where the star-struck young couple declared their love that people forget they aren’t historical characters.
So intertwined have they become with Verona that those seeking love make pilgrimages to Juliet’s house from all over the world.
The clue is in the name. The house belonged to the Dal Capello family, commonly known as the Cappelletti. This was so similar to the name of Juliet’s family, the Capulets that the house became her family home in everyone’s imagination and in the process gave a great boost to Verona’s tourist industry.
courtyard of Juliet’s houseThe link was given extra weight by the convenient fact that there’s a small balcony overlooking the courtyard. It’s probably best not to mention that this Juliet balcony wasn’t added until the 20th-century!
The house today is an attractive brick and stone building with ivy covered garden walls and a small courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard testifies to the enduring power of legend and the search for romance that we all carry in our hearts. It’s covered with love letters from romantic souls searching for everlasting love.