Word for Wednesday: Romeo

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April 23 marks Shakespeare Day in the UK and to celebrate we’ve picked characters from Shakespeare’s plays for this month's Word for Wednesday theme.

William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616. Scholars believe his birthday and death day were both April 23. His work—which is still wildly popular today—includes 38 plays and over a hundred poems. Learn more about how Shakespeare influenced the English language here.

The first character we’ve chosen to look at this month is Romeo Montague

Romeo is a title characters from one of Shakespeare’s early plays Romeo and Juliet which premiered in 1597. The play tells the tragic story of a pair of lovers from feuding families who—after a series of terrible miscommunications—end up committing suicide. The play opens with this prologue: 

‘Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage -
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.’

The doomed love of Romeo and Juliet is so famous that the couple are regarded as the archetypal young lovers. So much so that the name Romeo has been used as an adjective to describe an ‘ardent male lover’ since 1766. 

07 Apr 2021
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