Critique (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
This drama was published in one of the eight small volumes of poetry issued by Browning under the title of BELLS AND POMEGRANATES between 1841 and 1846. It had been written at the request of Macready, the famous actor and producer in England during the nineteenth century. The play, though written expressly for the stage, has never been popular on the boards. While the drama is obviously Browning’s invention, the similarities to ROMEO AND JULIET immediately call the Shakespearean play to mind. The quarrel between two great houses, the duel, the love affair between a young man and an extremely young girl, and the multiple deaths of the principals at the end all are paralleled in the two plays. Interesting to most readers of the play are the comments by the retainers of both houses about the main characters and the great families they represent.