Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe Influence on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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One can hardly argue against Shakespeare’s love affair with classic literature. Within a few pages of his works you are sure to sense an aura of the writings of great, ancient authors, and, of all those authors, Ovid was Shakespeare’s most beloved. The two writers’ connection has been noticed from almost the beginning of Shakespeare's career. Ovid was Shakespeare's master of poetry. Ovid’s influence over Shakespeare’s works is clearly evident in one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic plays, Romeo and Juliet. Although Shakespeare may have extremely embellished the story, the plot of Romeo and Juliet is extremely parallel to the one in Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe. The two stories share a common theme. And the stories’ conclusion is essentially identical. It is clear to see, apart from Shakespeare’s extra ornate details, that the stories of Romeo and Juliet and Pyramus and Thisbe are extremely related to each other. In Ovid’s story, the parents of Thisbe and Pyramus forbids the two from seeing each other, which is the same decree the parents of Romeo and Juliet made for their children. All of the lovers make the decision to go against their parents and secretly plot a way to be with each other; Pyramus and Thisbe plan to run away together, while Juliet and Romeo plan to be married in private. In both stories there is a young couple in love and desperate to be with each other, no matter the consequences may be, and in the end they all pay the ultimate cost. Cleary, Ovid’s
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