Love, sex and death are the components of Shakespeare's classic story of the love of two young people which reaches across the barriers of family and convention. It encompasses great love, high drama, low comedy and a tragic ending. Romeo and Juliet is a pure tragedy of youth told in verse that is both youthful and intense. The loveliness and the music of the poetry make believable the otherwise commonplace afflictions of blighted love.
Cedric Watts is Professor of English Literature at the University of Sussex. His books on Shakespeare include William Shakespeare: 'Measure for Measure', (1986), Hamlet (1988), Romeo and Juliet (1991), and with John Sutherland Henry V - War Criminal? and other Shakespeare Puzzles (2000). He has edited the First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1995).