Julieta at Romeo

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Julieta at Romeo; o Sintang Dalisay (Juliet and Romeo; or Pure Love) is an undated Philippine metrical romance (awit at korido) which retells Shakespeare's tragic romance Romeo and Juliet.

Characters

Montesco and Capuleto, two promiment feuding families in Verona; Romeo, the only son of a Montesco; Julieta, only 14-year-old daughter of the Capuleto family; Benvolio, a nephew of the Montescos, cousin of Romeo; Bartolome della Scalla, Prince of Verona; Tybaldo/Tibaldo, Capuleto's nephew who kills a friend of Romeo; Rosalina, the girl Romeo first falls in love with; Count Paris, a relative of the Prince of Verona and Romeo's rival for the love of Juliet; and Father Lorenzo, the priest who secretly weds Romeo and Juliet.

Synopsis

The story revolves around Romeo and Julieta. When the two met they immediately fell in love and soon married secretly. When Romeo was banished for killing a Capuleto, Julieta was about to be married to Count Paris. To avoid this she took a sleeping powder given by Father Lorenzo, the lovers’ friend and confessor. The sleeping powder would make her appear to be dead for a certain amount of time. By mischance, the letter which was to inform Romeo of Julieta’s ruse did not reach him; he, however, received the news of her death. Grief-stricken, he visited Julieta’s grave and poisoned himself. Julieta woke up just before he died, the two had a brief and tender parting, and then Julieta stabbed herself. Soon the priest, the prince, the lovers’ parents, and the whole town arrive at the scene. The priest explains everything, the parents repent and reconcile, and the lovers are buried in one grave.

Commentary/criticism

A study of Julieta at Romeo in relation to its foreign source and analog found the romance to be a highly moralized and extended retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It faithfully retells the story as written by Shakespeare but its source is not easy to determine because of its resemblance to practically every known version of the story. The poet may have taken their materials not from any one source but may have picked up details from several sources and wove them into their own story. The long moralizing stanzas inserted by the poet, making up about half the bulk of the romance, suggests the poet's main objective in writing the romance: to teach moral values. (Damiana L. Eugenio,Awit and Corrido: Philippine Metrical Romances.)

Philippine versions

This adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal piece is found only in the Tagalog language. The “Master List of Philippine Metrical Romances” lists only one version with the following information: "Julieta at Romeo; o Sintahang Dalisay tinula ni Gedeere, published in Manila by J. Martinez, with 88 pages (8 stanzas per page)." This may have been written or merely recited (the word used is tinula) by the unknown person using the pseudonym Gedeere.

References

Eugenio, Damiana L. Awit and Corrido: Philippine Metrical Romances. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1987.


Citation

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