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Shakespeare cartoonified: Romeo and Juliet — Act V


It’s here! The final installment!

Act V 1 Act V 2 Act V 3 Act V 4 Act V 5 Act V 6 Act V 7 Act V 8 Act V 9 Act V 10 Act V 11 Act V 12 Act V 13 Act V 14 Act V 15 Act V 16 Act V 17 Act V 18 Act V 19 Act V 20 Act V 21 Act V 22 Act V 23 Act V 24 Act V 25 Act V 26

It’s a little late for regret, you guys.

To fully understand the kind of prank that Shakespeare just pulled in this act you need to know something about theatre in his time. Theatre in the early 17th century was a little like the soap operas of today. Plays were predictable, always reusing the same plot points. They were almost written with a template format, with the same kinds of twists and turns taking place with the same types of characters.

Sometimes Shakespeare adhered to this predictability… and sometimes he didn’t. And those plays where he didn’t are much more interesting.
Shakespeare wrote plays in three (or four, depending on who you ask) different genres. That in itself is impressive as most playwrights only write in one genre. He wrote history plays. Then he wrote comedies and he wrote tragedies. Romeo and Juliet is a comedy. A comedy in seventeenth century theatre always included marriage. Check. It also involved some form of opposition to said marriage. Check check check. And then it included a last-minute happy resolution where the opposition is cleared away and the couple can start their lives together. No check. Now we’re looking at the moment when Shakespeare broke the comedy genre and turned Romeo and Juliet into a tragedy.
In a real comedy the letter that Friar Lawrence sent to Romeo to warn him of the plan to pretend that Juliet is dead would have reached its destination and everything would have worked out in the end. Instead, Shakespeare threw a massive wrench into the whole genre and the letter never arrives. From there the whole plot is just one giant, tragic misunderstanding. A fatal one.
Do you know how much I would love to have been a fly on the wall of the theatre the first day this play was performed and he pulled that one in front of an audience expecting a template ending? Because the answer is very much.
Romeo was right. He is too rash. Both of them are. But his heart also shows in this scene when he realises the man he has killed is Paris (it was too dark for him to see the face at first. I just couldn’t draw it that way). He shows he is capable of pity even for this man who is his most dedicated rival. He is truly sorry about Paris’s death. Romeo may have many faults, but he also has many good traits.
In Romeo and Juliet Tybalt and Mercutio die. Lady Montague dies. Then Paris, Romeo and Juliet all die. Both Friar Lawrence and Lady Capulet claim at the end that they will die soon. This may just be grief, and, then again, it may not. The death toll is almost on par with a full-on tragedy. This play is not a love story. It’s a tragedy.
Romeo and Juliet
Introduction Act I Act II Act III Act IV Act V

Links to the other acts are available above.



I hope you enjoyed this, you guys. I didn’t. I love the idea, but these posts are a shedload of work and my stress level has been way too high because of this. Having said that… which play should I cartoonify next? (Not any time soon. It is way too much work to attempt again within six months.)

If no-one votes (likely, I know), I’m going pick it myself.

11 responses

  1. Pingback: Shakespeare cartoonified: Romeo and Juliet — Act IV | CC

  2. Dee Jay

    indeed it is a tragedy and little foolish too…
    why was Romeo in so much of hurry to kill himself?
    he could have waited till they burried and it would have been a happy ending…alas..

    Nice work Elana! 🙂

    July 24, 2015 at 06:25

    • She was buried already. He had to break open the tomb to get in. That is also why Friar Lawrence was so concerned with getting a crowbar first, before going to intercept them. (If he hadn’t stopped for that he might have been in time. That’s how close it was.)
      But yes, Romeo was far too rash. Just as they were too eager to get married, they were too eager to die.

      July 27, 2015 at 21:52

  3. Yes, very nice work and most enjoyable. As for which play to do next, in the far distant future when you have the time and inclination (or at least the inclination), how about Hamlet? Or the only play I’ve actually read, A midsummer night’s dream. That said The Merchant of Venice would be good (but change the ending so that it’s no longer anti-Semitic… or have I just submitted a heresy by suggesting that?)

    July 26, 2015 at 20:53

    • I don’t know Hamlet as well as some of the other plays but I would need the best planning system ever if I chose that one! It is by far the longest of all Shakespeare’s plays and I would probably need 10 posts for all of it.
      I might just do A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s one of Shakespeare’s early plays, so… simple, template-like and straightforward. It’s a true comedy, not like Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy masquerading as a comedy.
      I’ve done Merchant of Venice before, up to Act IV, I think. But I’m not going to finish it now. My style has changed too much and it would look strange. No, you haven’t, but it is both anti-Semitic and pro-Semitic. It’s a bit of a complicated situation. In one moment it really seems to be criticising the attitude towards Jews and in the next it slips back into discrimination. I read it as conflicting values in the author himself. Perhaps he found himself struggling to reconcile his own worldviews.

      July 27, 2015 at 22:06

      • Perhaps. Or maybe he had to make changes to satisfy the audience of the day. It was after the quality of mercy speech (I watched the Al Pacino film version) where, or so it seemed to me, that mercy only applied when the Jew had the upper hand. But when the Christian now did, after the lawyer’s brilliant move of take your pound of flesh but no more than that, as the contract stipulates. No blood, no fat. Seeing his defeat he tries to take what what had previously been offered, but was told he must take the pound of flesh but of course could not and is laughed out of the courtroom. And not only that but he also lost his daughter after she stole away in the night to elope with her Christian lover. It’s probably time to give the film another watch.

        August 2, 2015 at 09:20

      • It’s definitely possible. Shakespeare in general wasn’t a crowd pleaser and did whatever he liked, but it is certainly possible that this was a point he needed to concede.
        Shylock is treated badly throughout the play (no mercy, like you said), which I always wonder if people only notice because anti-Semitism is such a sensitive subject, but nevermind. So you want to feel sorry for him because of his treatment, but on the other hand he is a genuinely unpleasant person who drove his own daughter away. He is a complex character and not easy to judge.

        August 3, 2015 at 00:49

  4. By the way, love the icon of the Pluto with the heart gif 🙂

    July 26, 2015 at 20:55

  5. * sorry, scrub out the “the” before pluto.

    July 26, 2015 at 20:57

    • Thank you, I’m glad you like the Pluto! 😛 I was very proud when the gif worked out as I don’t have animation software and had to create it the hard way.

      July 27, 2015 at 22:07

      • Then not only a cheeky nod but an impressive one. 🙂

        August 2, 2015 at 09:28

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