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The story of Romeo and Juliet may be one of the most influential tale that speaks on the premise of love and the lengths that people go to in order to conquer this feeling. This is a tragedy story written by William Shakespeare about two young lovers whose death became the cause of uniting two conflicting families. The origin of this story can be dated back to the ancient Greek mythological times where we find the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, which has the same plot. This story is bounced around through other poets and storytellers before it eventually told by Shakespeare. These links support the notion that this story was not the invention of William Shakespeare.
The originality of the Romeo and Juliet story relates to the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. In this story, Pyramus and Thisbe meet and fall in love. Their parents find out about this and are against it thus they forbid this union, which leads to the two lovers running away (James 2004). Events proceed to the point in the story where Pyramus believes that his Thisbe has fallen prey to a lion so in a rage of despair he stabs himself to death. Thisbe learns of this and subsequently kills herself. This story can be linked to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet where the two lovers end up killing themselves because they feel that their lives would not be worth living if they did not have their companions to go through this life with (Shakespeare 1859). This evidently shows how the story of Romeo and Juliet may have been copied form the Story of Pyramus and Thisbe.
The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was also based on the folk story that was developed in a sequence of novels around the 16th century. An author named Arthur Brooke wrote and named it “The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet.” The work Brooke was the chief source of Shakespeare’s play. This work has the most significant similarity to Shakespeare’s story as can be seen from the title to the characters in the play (Hosley 1965). He also pays tribute to the story of Pyramus and Thisbe by mentioning Thisbe in his play thus acknowledging the works of Ovid.
It is true that William Shakespeare borrowed from the works of other artists as can be seen in the similarities in their plot. People that have also read the story Pyramus and Thisbe may question the originality of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet now and then due to the similarities in these works of art. Shakespeare decided to copy from these respected authors because of the fame that the passages had and the interesting themes that these works of art had, the most drawing being the concept of the star-crossed love. Shakespeare has the right to own his story though he borrowed the idea and plot of his story from Brooke and the Metamorphoses of the great roman poet called Ovid because he changed them significantly to make it his own.