Graphic Novel Review: Romeo & Juliet

November 6, 2012

rjI grabbed the graphic novel adaptation of Romeo & Juliet because, well, it’s a graphic novel adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. What I didn’t know/realize immediately is that the book is one of the No Fear Shakespeare adaptations–meaning it’s Romeo & Juliet told in current/modern English instead of the language of Shakespeare’s time.

I enjoyed reading the story. The illustrations are great, the action easy to follow. The pettiness of the Capulets and Montagues is so ridiculous, especially because no one knows why they hate each other. By eliminating the extra language and using the images to tell most of the story, the action becomes a lot clearer.

Unfortunately, by eliminating the language, they’re eliminating the language. And not to parrot my English professor from college (or to parrot him since he was right): part of the problem with changing the language is the poetry is lost. When Juliet says she can’t trust the moon because it changes all the time, it just doesn’t have the same ring as “O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circle orb.” See?

That said, reading Shakespeare in the bathroom without having to translate was kind of nice. So I recommend it as a way to get the story for someone who is struggling to understand. Or to just see the play approached in a different way.

Other observations:

  • Romeo is such a freaking whiny baby. Ugh, I just wanted someone to shut him up during, well, most of the play. He whines over Rosaline, he whines over Juliet, he whines over being banished. Shut up, Romeo.
  • The friar is so suspect. I love that he’s just like, “Sure I’ll marry you two and help you fake a death and hide a murderer. No big.” I mean, he’s a decent dude, but yeah. He’s a little different.
  • I love the nurse. She is so great.

So yeah, totally worth the read, and a fun way to experience the play.

Source: Library

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