Who wrote the original Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The play titled Romeo and Juliet was originally written by William Shakespeare. According to the eNotes summary of Romeo and Juliet , Shakespeare wrote the play in either 1594 or 1595. It was most probably written for its commercial potential as Shakespeare was just starting out as a playwright...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The play titled Romeo and Juliet was originally written by William Shakespeare. According to the eNotes summary of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote the play in either 1594 or 1595. It was most probably written for its commercial potential as Shakespeare was just starting out as a playwright in London. A tale of tragic love would have been a definite crowd-pleaser and appealing to a writer who was attempting to fill seats. The first performances of Romeo and Juliet were likely held at either The Theater, The Curtain, or The Rose, successful London-area theaters which precluded Shakespeare's most famous theater, The Globe.

Shakespeare may have based his play on two sources. The long poem "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet" by the English poet Arthur Brooke, which was published in 1562, is often linked to Shakespeare's version. It would have been well known to London audiences of the day. Shakespeare may have also used material from the Greek myth of Pyramus and Thisbe who, like Romeo and Juliet, came from families who hated each other. The story of Pyramus and Thisbe comes from the Roman poet Ovid, who included it in his narrative poem Metamorphoses.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team