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ROMEO AND JULIET, LIVING DIRE STRAITS

Aggiornamento: 17 giu

Imagine that you have just met the most fabulous and wonderful person and, incredibly, fallen in love. You are absolutely sure that they are the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The only problem is that their family is at war with your family and your parents. would never allow you to see each other. What would you do and why?


  • stop seeing this person so you don’t upset your family

  • tell your family about the situation and hope they understand

  • see the person in secret

  • marry the person in secret

  • move away to another place with the person


Is there anything else you could do?


VOCABULARY -  Match the things to their descriptions:


1.A balcony a. you could use this to stop someone recognising you

2. A dagger b. you could write a message on this

3. A letter c. you could use this to stab someone

4. A rope d. you could look out over the city from this

5. Some poison e. you could use this to climb up a wall

6. A disguise f. you could use this to get married

7. A ring g. you want this if someone does something bad to you

8. revenge h. you could use this liquid to kill someone.

9. passion i. you feel this when you love someone or something very much



Write a number (1–7) to put these events from the story in order.


............. Romeo and Juliet secretly get married.

............. Juliet wakes up, sees Romeo dead and kills herself.

............. Romeo thinks Juliet is really dead. He takes poison.

............. Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love.

............. Juliet takes a drug to make people think she’s dead.

............. The Montagues and the Capulets hate each other.

............. The two families make peace.


Romeo stands below Juliet’s balcony, marveling at her beauty. Not knowing he’s there, Juliet speaks, wondering why Romeo must be a Montague, and she a Capulet. She thinks a name is simply a word, and it would be easy for Romeo to take a new name, and therefore not be forbidden to her. Romeo reveals himself, agreeing to forsake the name Romeo if he can have her love. Juliet warns him that, as a Montague, he’ll be killed if he’s spotted with her, but Romeo doesn’t care. After much discussion, the two swear their love for each other and agree to be married.




Romeo


He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

[Romeo sees light coming from an upper window]

But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief,

That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.

Be not her maid since she is envious.

Her vestal livery is but sick and green,

And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.

[Juliet appears at the window]

It is my lady, O, it is my love!                                       

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks.

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp. Her eye in heaven                 

Would, through the airy region, stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!


Juliet

                                                      Ay me!



Romeo

                                                      She speaks.

O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art

As glorious to this night, being o'er my head,

As is a wingèd messenger of heaven

Unto the white upturnèd wond'ring eyes

Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him 

When he bestrides the lazy puffing clouds

And sails upon the bosom of the air.


Juliet


O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I'll no longer be a Capulet.


Romeo


[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?


Juliet


'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,                    

Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!

What's in a name? That which we call a rose,

By any other word would smell as sweet.

So Romeo would — were he not Romeo called —

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.


Romeo


                          [Aloud] I take thee at thy word.

Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;                    

Henceforth I never will be Romeo.


Juliet


What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night,

So stumblest on my counsel ?


Romeo

                                                By a name

I know not how to tell thee who I am.

My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,

Because it is an enemy to thee.

Had I it written, I would tear the word.


Juliet


My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words

Of that tongue's uttering, yet I know the sound.

Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?                           


Romeo


Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.


Juliet


How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?

The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,

And the place death, considering who thou art,

If any of my kinsmen find thee here.


Romeo


With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls,

For stony limits cannot hold love out;

And what love can do, that dares love attempt.

Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.


Juliet


If they do see thee, they will murder thee.                     


Romeo


Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye

Than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet,

And I am proof against their enmity.


Juliet


I would not for the world they saw thee here.


Romeo


I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes,

And but thou love me, let them find me here.

My life were better ended by their hate,

Than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love.

Juliet


By whose direction found'st thou out this place?


Romeo


By love, that first did prompt me to inquire.                 

He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.

I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far

As that vast shore washed with the farthest sea,

I would adventure for such merchandise.


Juliet


Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face,

Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek

For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.

Fain would I dwell on form; fain, fain deny

What I have spoke. But farewell, compliment.

Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay,'              

And I will take thy word; yet if thou swear'st,

Thou mayst prove false. At lovers' perjuries

They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,

If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully;

Or if thou thinkest I am too quickly won,

I'll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,

So thou wilt woo, but else  not for the world.

In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,

And therefore thou mayst think my behavior light.

But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true

Than those that have more coying to be strange.

I should have been more strange, I must confess,

But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,

My true-love passion. Therefore pardon me,

And not impute this yielding to light love,

Which the dark night hath so discoverèd.


Romeo


Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow,

That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops —


Juliet


O, swear not by the moon, th'inconstant moon,

That monthly changes in her circled orb,

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.


Romeo


What shall I swear by?


Juliet

                                     Do not swear at all,

Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,

Which is the god of my idolatry,

And I'll believe thee.


Romeo

                                  If my heart's dear love —


Juliet


Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,

I have no joy of this contract tonight.

It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,

Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be

Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night.           

This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,

May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.

Good night, good night. As sweet repose and rest

Come to thy heart, as that within my breast!


Romeo


O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?


Juliet


What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?


Romeo


The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.


Juliet


I gave thee mine before thou didst request it.

And yet I would it were to give again.


Romeo


Wouldst thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?     


Juliet


But to be frank, and give it thee again,

And yet I wish but for the thing I have.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

[Nurse calls from within the house]

I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!

[To Nurse]

Anon, good nurse!

[To Romeo]


                               Sweet Montague, be true.

Stay but a little, I will come again.

[Exit, above]


Romeo


O blessèd, blessèd night! I am afeard,

Being in night, all this is but a dream,                           

Too flattering sweet to be substantial.

[Re-Enter Juliet, above]


Juliet


Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.

If that thy bent of love be honorable,

Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,

By one that I'll procure to come to thee,

Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite,

And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay,

And follow thee, my lord, throughout the world.


Nurse


[Within] Madam!


Juliet


I come, anon.

[To Romeo] But if thou meanest not well,   

I do beseech thee —


Nurse


[Within] Madam!


Juliet


By and by, I come! 


[To Romeo]


To cease thy strife, and leave me to my grief.

Tomorrow will I send.


Romeo


So thrive my soul. 


Juliet

                              A thousand times good night!

[Exit, above]


Romeo


A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.

Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,

But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

[Romeo retiring slowly. Re-Enter Juliet, above]


Juliet


Hist, Romeo, hist! O, for a falc'ner's voice                  

To lure this tassel-gentle back again!

Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;

Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,

And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,

With repetition of my ‘Romeo.'


Romeo


It is my soul that calls upon my name.

How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,

Like softest music to attending ears!


Juliet


Romeo!


Romeo


             My nyas?


Juliet


                                 At what o'clock tomorrow

Shall I send to thee?


Romeo


                                  By the hour of nine.                      

Juliet


I will not fail; 'tis twenty year till then.

I have forgot why I did call thee back.


Romeo


Let me stand here till thou remember it.


Juliet


I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,

Remembering how I love thy company.


Romeo


And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,

Forgetting any other home but this.


Juliet


'Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone;

And yet no farther than a wanton’s bird,

Who lets it hop a little from his hand,

Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,

And with a silk thread plucks it back again,

So loving-jealous of his liberty.


Romeo


I would I were thy bird.


Juliet


                                      Sweet, so would I,

Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,

That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

[Exit above]


Romeo


Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast.

Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest.

Hence will I to my ghostly

Friar’s close cell,                         

His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.

[Exit]


ROMEO AND JULIET (1980) BY DIRE STRAITS


This song is of course about a couple who are in love, but can't find a way to stay together. The guy in the song is particularly heartbroken, trying to make sense of how it all went wrong. His conclusion: It's just that the time was wrong. He knows he'll always love her.

The song was written by Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler and inspired by his broken romance with Holly Vincent, leader of the band Holly And The Italians. Some of the lyrics indicate that Knopfler felt she used him to boost her career: find them through the lyrics!



A lovestruck Romeo sang the streets a ______________

Laying everybody low with a love song that he made

Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade

Says something like, "You and me, babe, how about it?"


Juliet says, "Hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a _________________”

He's underneath the window, she's singing, "Hey, la, my boyfriend's back

You shouldn't come around here singing up at people like that

Anyway, what you gonna do about it?"


"Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start

And I bet, and you exploded into my heart

And I forget, I forget the movie song

When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?”


Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame

Both dirty, both mean, yes, and the dream was just _______________

And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real

How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?


When you can fall for chains of ___________you can fall for chains of __________

You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold

You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeah

Now you just say "Oh, Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him”


"Juliet, when we made love, you used to ___________

You said 'I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die'

There's a place for us, you know the movie song

When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?”


I can't do the talks like they talk on the TV

And I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to be

I can't do everything but I'll do anything for you

I can't do anything except be in love with you


And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be

All I do is keep the beat, the bad _______________

All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme

Julie, I'd do the stars with you any time


"Juliet, when we made love you used to cry

You said 'I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die'

There's a place for us you know the movie song

When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?”


And a lovestruck Romeo, he sang the streets a serenade

Laying everybody low with a love song that he made

Find a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade

He says something like, "You and me, babe, how about it?"

"You and me, babe, how about it?”


  • What common traits between this and Shakespeare’s dialogue can we highlight?

  • And what are the main differences?

  • How do the two stories end?


Some other “modern” Romeos…

ROMEO HAD JULIETTE (1989)

ROMEO IS BLEEDING (1978)

One, two, three, four

Caught between the twisted stars

The plotted lines, the faulty map

That brought Columbus to New York

Betwixt, between the east and west

He calls on her wearing a leather vest

The earth squeals and shudders to a halt

A diamond crucifix in his ear is used to help ward off the fear

That he has left his soul in someone's rented car

Inside his pants he hides a mop

To clean the mess that he has dropped

Into the life of lithesome Juliette Bel

And Romeo wanted Juliette

And Juliette wanted Romeo

And Romeo wanted Juliette

And Juliette wanted Romeo

Romeo Rodriguez squares his shoulders and curses Jesus

Runs a comb through his black pony-tail

He's thinking of his lonely room

The sink that by his bed gives off a stink

Then smells her perfume in his eyes

And her voice was like a bell

Outside the streets were steaming

The crack dealers were dreaming

Of using someone that just scored

"I betcha I can hit that light"

"With my one good arm behind my back"

Says little Joey Diaz

Brother give me another tote

Those downtown hoods are no damn good

Those Italians need a lesson to be taught

This cop who died in Harlem, you think they'd get the warnin'

I was dancing when I saw his brains ran out on the street

And Romeo had Juliette

And Juliette had her Romeo

And Romeo had Juliette

And Juliette had her Romeo

I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag

With Latin written on it that says

"It's hard to give a shit these days"

Manhattan's sinking like a rock

Into the filthy Hudson, what a shock!

They wrote a book about it

They said it was like ancient Rome

The perfume burned his eyes

Holding tightly to her thighs

And something flickered for a minute

And then it vanished and was gone

Romeo is bleeding but not so as you'd notice

He's over on 18th street as usual

Looking so hard against the hood of his car

Ans putting out a cigarette in his hand

And for all the pachucos at the pumps

At Romeros paint and body

They all seein' how far they can spit

Well it was just another night

But now they're huddled in the brake lights of a '58 Belair

And listenin' how Romeo killed a sheriff with his knife

And they all jump when they hear the sirens

But Romeo just laughs and says

All the racket in the world ain't never gonna

Save that coppers ass

He'll never see another summertime for gunnin' down my Brother

And leavin' him like a dog beneath a car without his knife

And Romeo says hey man gimme a cigarette

And they all reach for their pack

And Frankie lights it for him and pats him on the back

And throws a bottle at a milk truck

And as it breaks he graps his nuts

And they all know they could've just like Romeo

If they only had the guts

But Romeo is bleeding but nobody can tell

And he sings along with the radio

With a bullet in his chest

And he combs back his fenders

And they all agree its clear

That everything is cool now that romeos here

But Romeo is bleeding

And he winches now and then and he leans against

The car door and feels the blood in his shoes

And someones crying in the phone booth

At the five points by the store

Romeo starts his engine

And wipes the blood of the door

And he brodys through the signal

With the radio full blast

Leavin' the boys there hikin' up their chinos

And they all try to stand like romeo

Beneath the moon cut like a sicle

And they're talkin' now in Spanish about their hero

But Romeo is bleeding as he gives the man his ticket

And he climbs to the balcony at the movies

And he'll die without a wimper

Like every hero's dream

Just an angel with a bullet

And Cagney in the screen



Riccardo Zambon, 15 June 2024

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