Romeo and Juliet Criticism

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Even after four hundred years, literary criticism of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and critical reviews of its productions are still being written. Nonetheless, the critical essays written through the centuries remained valid and illustrate how interpretation is affected by various literary movements. Oddly enough, Shakespeare's contemporaries did not review the plays, and other writers barely mentioned him well into the seventeenth century. At that time, Ben Jonson (1572—1637) was held in higher regard as a playwright. Also esteemed as a critic, Jonson considered Shakespeare a talented, but undisciplined writer, according to Augustus E. Ralli in his book on Shakespearean criticism. John Dryden, a seventeenth-century writer, was the first great Shakespearan critic. In his "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy," Dryden compares Shakespeare and Jonson, saying that he admires Jonson but loves Shakespeare because "when he describes anything, you more than see it, you feel it too." Even though he...

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This section contains 746 words
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Buy the Romeo and Juliet Study Guide
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Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.