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A Comparison of Two of Shakespeare's Plays

Both plays are also grand and even epic love stories (Masefield, 58). Whereas Romeo and Juliet draws upon earlier tales, many of which were Italian in origin (Masefield, 58), Antony and Cleopatra has history as its source (Masefield, 117).

These similarities and differences aside, what is most compelling in each of the two plays is what John Dover Wilson (42) characterizes as the "fountain light" of Shakespeare poetic vision. The grand and lyrical poetry found in both of these plays links them in a way that their themes, though in some ways similar, do not. Their appeal, says Dover Wilson (57), is that the passion of poets "imbued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm, and tenderness than ordinary men, must be accepted for truth, however strange it seems."

Considering Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare (242) introduces his readers to "two households, both alike in dignityŕ from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean." Everyone must certainly be familiar with the story of two beautiful young people, Romeo and Juliet, whose warring parents and the long-simmering feud between their Houses, accept death rather than separation. This is not a play in which "if love be rough with you, be rough with love (Shakespeare, 249)." Instead, the poetry of the play is certainly evident in these lines: "eyes, look your last! Arms, take y


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