How does Shakespeare's use of stage directions in Romeo and Juliet impact elements such as character, conflict, and theme?
No copies of Shakespeare's plays written in his own hand have been discovered, but most Shakespeare scholars agree that William Shakespeare likely wrote very few, if any, stage directions for his plays.
Scholars also agree that Shakespeare had little or nothing to do with the publication of his plays during his lifetime. Early printings of Shakespeare's plays were "pirated" versions—stolen copies of the plays or prompt scripts used in performance and published by book printers hoping to make a "quick buck" on a popular play.
The modern published versions of Shakespeare's plays are scholars' and editors' "best guesses" as to what Shakespeare actually wrote based on the different versions of his plays that have come down to us over the years. The stage directions in modern versions of Romeo and Juliet are written by editors, not by Shakespeare.
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