Came across this post over at Shakespeare Geek about a different approach to the end of Romeo and Juliet.

….has anybody ever done an ending to this play where the Prince still gets to give his speech, but rather than the statue building stuff, the two families turn their backs on each other and the grudge continues?

I rather like this idea. I am a huge Shakespeare fan but I’ve never been fond of the “hey we’re going to stop feuding right now” closure to R & J. Both sides are so stuck in the cement of their hatred of the other – why wouldn’t they blame each other for their children’s deaths? I don’t truly believe there’s closure for either family. Maybe if only one of the two had died (a la West Side Story) so that the other could directly address the families then I might buy it.

But then again just because an ending seems to suggest closure doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually true. After watching the amazing Follies I’ve listened to a number of opinions about the show on various podcasts. And one thing that comes up is that some hate the ending. They hate the fact that after all that happens during the show, and all the vitriol that gets tossed around, the two main couple seem to get back together at the end. This assumption is made simply because the two couples leave as couples. Closure. I don’t see it that way at all. Just because the two couples leave together doesn’t mean they’re happy. It doesn’t mean they’re going to stay together. Nothing is really resolved for any of them. In fact, I see it as more failure that they leave together. It’s like the Capulets and the Montages turning their backs and carrying on that grudge… I really would love to see a R & J that suggests nothing has changed, it’s all lies for the Prince and the fight will continue on till they’re all dead. That would be something to see…. Anyone up for it??

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Lindsay Price

1 Comment

  • Personally, NOT up for it. Shakespeare knew people had to be able to walk out of the theater. Realism sometimes has to yield to Resolution. We all know it’s Theater, not Life.