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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is the significance of the full title and...

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tajhae | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:15 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is the significance of the full title and explain its meaning?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 8, 2012 at 10:37 PM (Answer #1)

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The full and complete title of the play is "The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet." The word "excellent" means that it is a product of high quality; and, the word "lamentable" means "unfortunate." In a way, Shakespeare uses a strong title to sell his product by stating that the play is of high quality and full of drama. The title is significant to catch an audience member's attention and to send a message that the play is worth watching. It also sends the message of intriguing saddness that might spark some play-goers fancy. Further,in "The Norton Shakespeare" anthology, editors Choen, Howard and Maus state in the play's introduction that "[this] tragedy is unusally dependent on coincdence, mischance, and accident to produce what the Chorus, in the sonnet that serves as the prologue, calls the lovers' 'misadventured piteous overthrows.'" Thus, drama is what Shakespeare is selling and drama is what he delivers. Nothing is more sad than young love at the mercy of outside influences as seen in this classic and most famous play.

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