Shakespeare was inspired by a 1562 poem entitled The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet. In turn, his play inspired musicals, like West Side Story, Bollywood films, operas… Why is this story so unforgettable?
Fatal brawl in the streets of Verona
Monday, October 30th, 1597
A fatal brawl broke out yesterday morning, resulting in the premature deaths of two young men under 20 years old. The events seem to confirm our previous reports about young Romeo Montague being in love with Juliet Capulet. Two days after the ball that was given at the Capulets', Tybalt, of the Capulet clan, went to see young men of the Montague clan, looking for Romeo. Romeo was absent when the fight started. Voices escalated between the Montague and Capulet men. Minutes later, swords were drawn as Romeo was running to the scene. Witnesses said that Tybalt had killed young Mercutio, as Romeo was trying to stop the fight. Mercutio's last words were: “A plague o' both your houses!” Mad with rage, Romeo took revenge and killed Tybalt. Romeo is nowhere to be found. It seems he has fled the city of Verona. The Prince and his officers are actively looking for him. Mr and Mrs Capulet have advanced the wedding of their daughter Juliet to Count Paris from next Thursday to Wednesday, in an attempt to comfort her.
1. Read and introduce the document.
2. What did Mercutio mean when he said “The plague o'both your houses”?