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STYLE

Romeo and Juliet is unique because it merges three distinct styles.

The first two acts are comedy: characters meet, fall in love, have funny friends and bawdy servants. These acts follow an Italian style called a commedia dell'arte, which usually had two virtuous lovers, old fathers who kept them apart, and servants who made racy comments about sex.

But the Prologue sets up a tragedy, and the last three acts bring it about. Suddenly, a feud that seemed silly is deadly, and Mercutio and Tybalt are killed. The lovers become isolated, and come to understand the cruelty of the world and how it preys on them. Human failure and tragic accidents work against them, and they must die.



Romeo and Juliet is also Romantic. Not only does it deal with Romantic Love, as mentioned above under Themes, but it includes many different types of Romantic poetry. Just before he wrote this play, Shakespeare had written two long narrative Romantic poems, as well as some Romantic sonnets, and these poetic styles turn up over and over again in the play.

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