Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written towards the beginning of the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two teenage "star-cross'd lovers" whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both, but developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris, in order to expand the plot. Believed to be written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. The play ascribes different poetic forms to different characters, sometimes changing the form as the character develops. John Gielgud's 1935 version kept very close to Shakespeare's text, and used Elizabethan costumes and staging to enhance the drama. In the 20th century the play has been adapted in versions as diverse as MGM's comparatively faithful 1936 film, the 1950s stage musical West Side Story, and 1996's MTV-inspired Romeo + Juliet.

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Today's selected anniversaries:


English explorer James Cook was killed in a fight by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.


Inventor Alexander Graham Bell and electrical engineer Elisha Gray each filed a patent for the telephone, starting a controversy on who invented the telecommunications device first.


Asbestos miners began a labour strike around Asbestos, Quebec, Canada, considered one of the causes of the Quiet Revolution.


A fatwa was issued for the execution of Salman Rushdie for authoring The Satanic Verses, a novel Islamic fundamentalists considered blasphemous.


Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated when explosives were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut, sparking the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon.

Wiktionary's word of the day:

callipygous (adj):
Having shapely, beautiful buttocks

Wikiquote quote of the day:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.   --Paul of Tarsus