Romeo and Juliet - Research Article from Literature and Its Times

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Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

When William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in approximately 1595, England had a great deal in common with fourteenth-century Italy, the era in which the play takes place. As in fourteenth-century Italy, Elizabethan England experienced incredible violence and tragedy. In 1592 Great Britain was ravaged by the bubonic plague, a disease that had swept across Italy in 1348. Britain was also deeply enmeshed in a political and religious power struggle that resembled conditions in Italy 250 years before. Both societies, scarred by tragedy, largely adopted the philosophy of the imprisoned Roman statesman and philosopher Boethius (c. 480-524), who asserted that Fortune-both good and badis part of life and, along with God, controls human destiny. Further, he insisted that Fortune is random and that adverse fortune is a greater teacher than good fortune.

Events in History at the Time the Play Takes Place

A history of...

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This section contains 3,271 words
(approx. 11 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Romeo and Juliet Encyclopedia Article
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Romeo and Juliet from Gale. ©2008 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.