The Appeal of Doomed Lovers: Background information when reading Juliet

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by Anne Fortier

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    Aug 2010, 464 pages
    Jul 2011, 464 pages

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The Appeal of Doomed Lovers

Search the web for "famous love stories" and you'll find that most sites rank Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 1st place. Considering how few of the general populous will have actually read or watched a performance of Shakespeare's arguably most famous play in recent years it seems likely that what keeps this pair of star-crossed lovers in everyone's minds is not Shakespeare's work itself but the countless adaptations, parodies and representations of it since it was first performed in the late 16th century. In fact, it's difficult to imagine a single literary work that has inspired more artistic endeavors. Tchaikovsky's overture, Prokofiev's ballet and West Side Story are just the tip of the iceberg - various sources estimate there are upwards of 77 films and 24 operas based on Shakepeare's Romeo and Juliet, plus any number of musical pieces, paintings and books.

But what inspired Shakespeare to pen the story that has subsequently inspired 500 years of artistic endeavors? ...

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