The Sad Stupid Tale of Romeo and Juliet

Which is the best screen version of Romeo and Juliet? Don't look ...

(Let me know if you would like more of these or never want to see it again)

This play is set in Verona, Italy… one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe and a real cesspool once you got a good look at it. Two clans are brawling: The Montagues and the Capulets; in fact, they attack each other on sight like game cocks. Why do they hate one another? No one knows… like the hatred between dogs and cats, although, in that case, I’d imagine the trouble started with a dispute over kibble…

As the play opens, servants from the house of Capulet are fighting with servants from the house of Montague. Benvolio demands they stop fighting which, to Capulet Tybalt, is as good an excuse as any to draw his sword and attack Benvolio. Citizens of Verona are getting sick of all the fighting between the families because it disrupts traffic and they get blood all over the city limits sign. Prince Escalus steps in and tells them to stop the fighting or they will be put to death. They take him seriously because he’s wearing his execution shoes.

Romeo walks by and informs Benvolio that he’s deeply, passionately and madly in love with a woman that has taken a vow of chastity, called Rosaline, and his sexual frustration level is holding steady at a 9.5…

Histories and Tragedies from the Boydell Shakespeare Folio ...Meanwhile the main Capulet is betrothing Juliet to Paris, so named because he’s always plastered. A party is planned and Romeo gets hold of the guest list. His chaste love, Rosaline, will be there so Romeo conscientiously adds himself to the guest list, then, takes a cold shower in advance. Tip: If Lucrezia Borgia is also invited… DON’T DRINK THE PUNCH.

Juliet is informed of Paris’ marriage proposal and decides she can work with it. She’s thirteen and isn’t getting any younger. Time to settle down and get married, have kids and die of small pox.

As Romeo and Mercutio approach the party, wearing masks to keep from alerting party-goers to the fact that they are their mortal enemies. Romeo had a foreboding nightmare the previous night and Mercutio mocks him for it. What are friends for? They enter the festivities and Romeo, in a rare act of loyalty to his current love, immediately falls for another woman… Juliet. She falls for him, too… in spite of, or perhaps because of, his mask. Tybalt recognizes Romeo’s voice and vows to poke holes in him. The main Capulet calls Tybalt a “saucy boy” and encourages restraint.

Romeo does not go home from the party. He is deeply in love and also thinks the wall around the Capulet estate could use a good climbin’… There, on the balcony, is Juliet. So Romeo, being the horny lad he is, lays it on thick… calling her the Sun and a Maid and bad-mouthing the moon in the worst way. Juliet is allergic to flattery so she immediately breaks out in a rash. They agree that their relationship makes a lot of sense; and, since their kinsmen want to destroy one another, utterly, the wedding will be held in a steel cage.

File:Romeo and Juliet with Friar Laurence - Henry William Bunbury ...Off Romeo goes to Friar Lawrence who agrees to perform the marriage if it offers a chance it will stop the war between the two families and if Romeo promises the wedding cake won’t have any coconut.

Mercutio encounters Romeo and has a battle of word-play with him. Oddly enough, the guy who wants to marry the thirteen year old daughter of his mortal enemy wins the battle. Then, he scoots off and marries Juliet, in secret…

Afterwards, Tybalt encounters Romeo on the street and challenges him to a duel. Romeo refuses to injure an in-law just after his wedding because he is a man of honor and Verona is NOT Oklahoma. So, Mercutio gives it a shot and makes a good showing of it until he is stabbed to death by Tybalt. Romeo suddenly is enraged and with the strength of ten Grinches plus two, kills Tybalt.

Prince Escalus hears of this and calls for the death of Romeo. Benvolio plea bargains the punishment down to a banishing. When Romeo hears of it, he announces that he prefers death as a punishment, but he doesn’t say it too loudly. Since no one knows about the wedding, the main Capulet continues with his wedding plans. Juliet balks because she’s already married to Romeo but, since that is a secret, her excuse is “cramps and swelling”, which is more than enough information for any males in the room.

She plots with Friar Lawrence to drink a potion that will SEEM to kill her, but instead put her into a death-like sleep that is just awesome… Paris will be thwarted, because anyone who might want to marry a dead girl is considered highly suspect. And, to make this all work properly, she gives Friar Lawrence a note to give to Romeo. It doesn’t bode well that, in high school, Friar Lawrence’s nickname was “the weak link”.

Romeo hears of Juliet’s death and buys some poison from a poison vendor at the Poison Emporium, just a few blocks from the poison factory. He goes to Juliet’s tomb but meets Paris there. The girl seems dead but Paris fights for her, anyway because maybe he can turn her into a lamp or something. Romeo puts enough holes into Paris to ruin his singing career.

SHAKESPEARE ROMEO & JULIET - DEATH SCENE w STORY BELOW 1875 Large ...Romeo then poisons himself next to the ersatz corpse of Juliet… who chooses to awaken just after the nick of time. And, there’s Romeo, dead as a mackerel. Juliet decides to take the rational approach and stabs herself to death. Friar Lawrence arrives at this point to deliver the message that Juliet is not actually dead. He tells the town leader and the heads of the families what has befallen the two idiots, carefully leaving out his failure to deliver Juliet’s message.

The two families resolve to never fight again; so, they’ve got that going for them, which is nice…

 

26 thoughts on “The Sad Stupid Tale of Romeo and Juliet

    1. And, mostly accurate. I’ve had to explain the plot to Hamlet and MacBeth in regular words to people and I tend to add a lot of asides to it all to keep them interested. Not sure I could do Hamlet, though. A LOT is happening in that play…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “She’s thirteen and isn’t getting any younger. Time to settle down and get married, have kids and die of small pox.”

    That’s the simple life for old Jules.

    I enjoyed reading this very much; I am so glad I stumbled upon it. I would be interested in reading more retellings like this. They’re hilarious and more accurate than the subtext of the original work. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My English lit students would have enjoyed this. What they was act out the play for the school assembly accompanied by my rewrite of the “Ballad of Jed Clampett”:

    “Come a-listen to my story ’bout a man named Capulet,
    Who had a lovely daughter, and her name was Juliet.
    Then one night at a party she was chewin’ on some food,
    When in through the door come a bumblin’ dude – Romeo, that is … a Montague … bad news …
    (You get the point. 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

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