‘Romeo and Juliet’, the tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths eventually reunited their families who were earlier bitter enemies.
Who doesn’t know about this world famous play written by one of the greatest poets, William Shakespeare?
100s of TV films, Operas and musical versions have been made based on the play.
What was the story that left a lasting impact on the audience?
To find out, read the 17 Facts about Romeo and Juliet and believe me these facts will leave you amazed.
1. The first publication of Romeo and Juliet was unauthorized!
Romeo and Juliet was first published in 1597 i.e. in the First Quarto whereas the play which we know today was published in 1599.
You are confused, right? Let me clear it.
The first publication of the play was thought to be incomplete as well as unauthorized on which many scholars have debated too.
On the other hand, the second version published in the Second Quarto is the authorized version which is today, world famous!
2. Romeo and Juliet was NOT the original title for the play!
The title of the play was not Romeo and Juliet from the beginning. Instead it was a bit longer.
When the play was first published, it was known by another title which was “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet”.
But, with time, it came to be called “Romeo and Juliet” only.
3. Shakespeare made Juliet just 13 years old!
If you really observed the play, you probably know that Juliet was just 13 years old.
The Lady Capulet, in Act I Scene III, says that Juliet is ‘not yet fourteen’ pointing out that she is thirteen.
On the contrary, Romeo’s actual age was never revealed in the play.
4. In 1662, a woman played the role of Juliet!
Until the year 1662, all the roles in stage performances were played by men. No matter if the role is of a boy or girl.
And, in 1662, for the first time in history, a woman played the iconic role of Juliet in a stage performance.
Mary Saunderson was the first woman to play the role of Juliet professionally.
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5. The play was written by one of the greatest poets!
The poet of this world-famous play was none other than ‘William Shakespeare’.
William Shakespeare is quoted more than any other poet in the English language excluding the Bible.
He is widely known as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is also known as ‘Bard of Avon’.
6. Romeo’s first love was NOT Juliet!
Though the entire play is based on the love between Romeo and Juliet but actually, Juliet was not the first love of Romeo.
Earlier, Romeo loved Rosaline but when he met Juliet at the Ball, he fell in love with her instead of Rosaline.
7. The play was featured in many operas, movies, and musicals!
Yes, you read it right.
The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was so popular that it was featured in numerous movies, paintings, musicals, artworks, jazz music and ballets too.
And, you’ll be shocked to know that 27 operas have been conducted so far which were based on the play.
8. The play was based on a poem by Arthur Brook!
It might be possible that this fact will disappoint you.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not an original creation but it is inspired by a poem written by Arthur Brooke named “The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet” which was published in 1562.
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9. Romeo has become a synonym for a male lover!
Because of the immense popularity of the play, the word ‘Romeo’ is sometimes referred to a male lover. It is a great achievement that this word made its place in the English language.
Merriam Webster defines Romeo as ‘the hero of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet who dies for love of Juliet’.
10. Was there really a balcony in the famous ‘balcony’ scene?
We all know that the balcony scene is one of the most famous scenes of the play but is the word ‘balcony’ mentioned in the play?
No, it is not!
It is because this word was first used in 1618, about 19 years after the authorized publication. Moreover, it was spelt as balcone instead of balcony.
The play represents the balcony scene when Juliet appears in the Capulet’s Orchard above at a window.
11. Their families, the Montagues and the Capulets were bitter enemies!
Romeo belonged to the Montagues whereas Juliet belonged to the Capulets.
Montagues and Capulets were bitter enemies because of which Romeo and Juliet met their respective fates.
12. Shakespeare didn’t refer to the ‘Montagues and Capulets’ first!
Do you think that William Shakespeare was the first to describe Montagues and Capulets?
Well, you are wrong!
Montagues and Capulets first appeared in the great poem “Divine Comedy” written by Dante Alighieri.
Bonus Fact – It took more than 10 years to complete “Divine Comedy”.
13. Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was the best ballet version of the play!
The ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ballet by Sergei Prokofiev is regarded as the best known ballet version based on the play by William Shakespeare.
Prokofiev’s ballet was premiered in 1938 by the Ballet of the National Theatre, Brno.
14. The main hairdresser was kidnapped in filming the ‘Romeo + Juliet’ film in 1993!
When the 1993 film ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was filming in Mexico, Aldo Signoretti, the main hairdresser of the movie was kidnapped by some unknown people and the production had to pay a ransom of $300.
After getting the money, the kidnappers broke his leg by throwing him out of the car in a rush.
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15. Romeo and Juliet’s courtship was literally a whirlwind!
Literally a whirlwind!!
Juliet was just 13 years old when she was in love with Romeo.
And, the most shocking thing is that it has been just 24 hours since they decided to marry each other.
16. Nahum Tate gave the play a ‘happy ending’!
Nahum Tate was an Irish poet, lyricist and hymnist who became the poet laureate of England in 1692.
It was very common for him to mess with the creations of William Shakespeare.
He rewrote the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and gave it a ‘happy ending’ which didn’t even become popular.
Moreover, he also rewrote Shakespeare’s King Lear in which he pinned another ‘happy ending’. And fortunately, this time his altered creation became quite popular.
17. David Garrick opted to kick the character of Rosaline out of the play!
We know that Romeo’s first love was Rosaline but when he met Juliet at the ball, he fell in deep love forgetting about Rosaline.
But, David Garrick, who premiered his own version of Romeo and Juliet removed the role of Rosaline from the play.
The reason he stated for this decision is that he thought that Rosaline decreased the impact of the love between Romeo and Juliet.
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So how was these 17 Romeo and Juliet Facts?
Do you know any other facts which we can add in this list? Feel free to tell us 🙂