Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare
1597

Romeo and Juliet – perhaps the most famous of love stories in the western canon. The classic tragic play about two young lovers whose families are engaged in a bitter and longstanding feud. No need to justify its inclusion on this list, to be sure, the play being second only perhaps to Hamlet as Shakespeare’s best-known, and the source of such now-common turns of phrase as “what light through yonder window breaks”, “parting is such sweet sorrow”, and “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, Romeo and Juliet was likely written in the early 1590s and first published in 1597. And you don’t last as long as this without getting your share of praise and your share of critics and detractors. This, however, is not the place to enter that debate. It is the place to simply say this: if you haven’t seen it, see it – live; and if you haven’t read it, read it – preferably aloud.

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