This typical romantic story is one of the most famous tragedies written by Shakespeare in the 16th century. But we can find some archetypes of Romeo and Juliet in the previous literatures. These main themes are Love and Death.
("Cleopatra" painted by Waterhouse)
First of all, we can give an example of Roman history “Antony and Cleopatra”. Of course, Shakespeare wrote a historic tragedy based on this real story. According to Roman history, Mark Antony, who is a member of the staff of Caesar, fell in love with Egypt’s Queen, Cleopatra. So he broke off his relations with his fellow, Octavius Caesar. However this love ended tragically. Defeated by Octavius Caesar in the Battle of Actium, Mark Antony escaped to see finally Cleopatra and killed himself. In front of his death, elle also resolved to kill herself using the poison of an asp.
( From Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" )
For the second, the legend of Tristan and Iseult is related to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, too. This medieval tale inspired Richard Wagner to compose the opera Tristan and Isolde, considered one of the most influential music today. In the Celtic ages, the young knight “Tristan” assumed the responsibility for bringing the Irish princess Iseult, because his uncle wanted to marry her. At first, Tristan was not indifferent to Iseult. One day, they drank by accident a love potion because of thirst. Since then, they loved each other and died for their love.
According to these two stories, a hero fall in love with a heroine and they die together. In brief, their love has something to do with destined and tragic love, and Love and Death are bound up each other for them.
written by Kim Taeyoung