Romeo and Juliet: genre

Romeo and Juliet: genre

Genre: Tragedy

  • “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy, a genre which presents serious subject matter in a way that provokes thought and elicits emotional responses from the audience.
  • Often tragedies involve significant loss or death. In this case, the deaths of two young lovers - Romeo and Juliet.
  • Characters in a tragedy are usually more complex and their actions often lead to disastrous consequences. This is evidenced in Romeo and Juliet’s decisions, which lead to their ultimate demise.
  • The tragic events often revolve around a fatal flaw or a terrible mistake: in this case, impetuousness and impulsive behaviour, contributing to the tragic outcome.
  • Tragedies often take a critical view of some aspect of society or human nature. “Romeo and Juliet” criticises the societal structures and feuding that leads to such a devastating outcome for the young lovers.
  • Tragedies often include dramatic irony, where the audience knows information that characters do not. This increases the intensity of the emotional experience for the audience. An example of this is when Romeo believes Juliet is dead while the audience knows she has taken a sleeping potion.

Genre: Comedy

  • This play also contains elements of comedy. This is particularly apparent in characters like the Nurse and Mercutio, who both serve to provide humorous commentary and lighten intense scenes.

Genre: Romance

  • There are also elements of romance. The love between Romeo and Juliet is famously passionate and intense, providing key romantic moments within the narrative.

Genre in Performance

  • The genre of “Romeo and Juliet” often feeds into dramatic staging and performance choices. For instance, the tragic elements of the story might be emphasised through lighting, costuming, and acting choices.