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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(7) Snow Line

Well, it's Shakespeare: we can't lie to you. He may have been writing for the masses back in the sixteenth-century, but it's easy to miss the jokes if you have to keep flipping to the footnotes, and puns on collier/ choler/ collar aren't exactly headlining on Comedy Central. Take the very beginning:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
(1.Prologue.1-4)

Even though these words especially difficult, the poetic language and tricky sentence structure make the meaning, well, a little obscure. (Translation: There were two important families in Verona, and we're about to cover the latest installment of their long-standing feud.) Still, it's a classic love story for a reason—and Shmoop has got your back.

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