Was Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare's original idea?

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mattbuckley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Shakespeare wrote the classic play Romeo and Julietin the late sixteenth century. The play was his original work, however he did borrow ideas from other sources. For his famous play he used the story of a very long narrative poem by Arthur Brooke entitled "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet". According to canadianshakespeares.ca, this was the English poets only real known work. Shakespeare did not take this story and republish it as a play. It took a great amount of creativity and imagination on his part to turn a poem into a five act play. He created many characters, plot twists, and additional themes, but the inspiration came from this poem which William Shakespeare saw so much potential.