During the English Renaissance, William Shakespeare, wrote plays within three distinct genres: tragedy, comedy, and history. While his historical plays occasionally borrow dramatic elements from his tragedies, Shakespeare set a clear division between the lighthearted ambiance found in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the heart wrenching despair that pervades Hamlet. However, Folger Theatre has cleared this divide with fervor. Romeo & Juliet, a play that was once the epitome of tragic theatre, is no longer pigeonholed to the tight confines of tragedy in regards to mood and tone. While the original dialogue and themes are unchanged, and the show is still classically categorized as a tragedy, the first act of Folger’s adaptation plays out like a…show more content… And yet, by presenting the youthful side of Juliet, the play stylizes her love for Romeo as mature by comparison and emotionally charged. In the second act, when the play descends into tragedy, Romeo descends into madness; Juliet then fights for her independence and attempts to defy her father. Both characters exhibit a range of emotions throughout the play, reflecting the lighthearted tone of the first act and the emotional unraveling that darkens the tone of the second. Furthermore, because Romeo and Juliet are introduced as emotionally unstable teenagers, their story and inevitable demise seems almost natural; teenagers are often stereotyped as headstrong and impulsive, and suicide can oftentimes be an impulsive act.
Despite the immature portrayal of its lead characters, Romeo & Juliet still retains the themes of true love and bitter conflict. These themes are inherent in the text and exemplified by the contrasting tones of the two Acts. The theme of romance appears in the private interactions between Romeo and Juliet. The tenderness of these scenes, which primarily occur in Act I, support the notion of true love and the auspicious tone of the first act. Conversely, the theme of conflict and violence reside in the fights scenes, particularly the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio. This scene prepares audiences for