Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story

Article by David Bisson

For centuries, the canon of the great bard, William Shakespeare, has to the English language bestowed innumerable contributions. His employment and talents ensconced within the bloom of Renaissance revolution, the dexterity manifested of his many plays, sonnets and some 1700 words contributed to the English vocabulary, revolutionized his ether and ours. His toiled years fashioned him as a great member of the comprehension we derive of the English language; to this day, do we benefit and obtain much in our culture from his writings. Quotes and references, both of parody and utter seriousness, continue to thrive in media and modern society. With his name proclaimed with praise and recognition of all ages, he in literature, drama and history is the very masterpiece incarnate of literary achievement. Through such recognition, his works have grown to fame, especially one of “Romeo and Juliet.” Itself a classic, the play imparts the drama, competition, and bitterness over the achievement that clouds the Renaissance era, boasting a storm of social upheaval, and tragic conflict. However, a classic, when it engages insightful and brilliant modern incentive, the work can be forged a life of its own. The works of distant eras become one history, and their combined influence and plot, know then no bounds.
“Romeo’s Ex: Rosaline’s Story,” written by Lisa Fiedler (author of “Dating Hamlet”), is such a courageous and masterful book, beautifully complimenting that of “Romeo and Juliet.” The plot, in compliance with the flow of “Romeo and Juliet,” centers on Rosaline’s (Romeo’s first lover) interpretation of the events. However, many other characters voice their feelings throughout the course of the book, such as the dashing youth and gallant who is Benvolio, the hot-headed, impetuous Tybalt, the lovers and many more involved. Cleverly written in primary narratives of the characters involved, personalities also either sparkle or dull in the brilliantly extensive character development.
Throughout the course of the book, Lisa Fiedler presents a splendid preservation of the renowned Shakespearean dialect, and yet muses in the play of her own take upon the language. With such creativity, the masterpiece is now made accessible to those who found it too difficult to read Shakespeare’s original play. With an inclusion of such characters as the mischievous twins, Sebastian and Viola, from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” and Petruchio, his man Grumio, and the shrewish Katherina from “Taming of the Shrew,” Fiedler delightedly intertwines the plots of several Shakespearean works together, and tells of the connections not imparted by Shakespeare in his time.
Most splendidly, the book preserves the greater extent, if not all of that of the plot of “Romeo and Juliet,” and yet contributes so much to the foundation and history. Fiedler courageously adventures even beyond that of the tragic end of “Romeo and Juliet,” to reveal an outcome, leading into the conclusion, that will surprise all who have previously known the play. The drama of the conclusion rivals the drama of the entirety of the book itself. In truth, the book, just as “Romeo and Juliet,” is that of a life. It is a history, and it is a thriving organism. Characters may be fabricated, but it tells of human emotion: it sheds feeling and influence, as would any live thing. Shakespeare once said: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” Similarly, Lisa Fiedler says in this book, “Nay! All the poets, all the minstrels, all the Romeos on this earth could never convince me to fall in love.” As stated by each, you cannot live, and thus not love, with eyes alone. It is rather based on commitment and taking a chance. And such is the same with this book, for in this work lives masterpiece new and old. So go ahead, and take a chance, for you may very well fall in love with this book as I did. What proclamation is here; literary grandeur lives on!


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