And, sorry, William S., the secret is out. You based your classic tale of teenage tenderness and tragedy on Pyramus and Thisbe. But I still respectfully dip my quill to you– your version is so much more rich, more lyrical, more metaphorically magical.
I could only dream to aspire to write the scenes that make grown men cry, and make it feel as if your heart is being wrenched from its cage. The devastating moment of realization, or irony, that Pyramus recognizes the moment of death, as does Romeo in this film version. BUT…that is not the way W.S. wrote it. Romeo dies, and then Juliet awakens. Romeo goes to his great reward not knowing the Juliet knows that he knows that she knows…well, you get the idea.
How much more dramatic it is, then, that Romeo’s last gaze is upon Juliet’s open green eyes in this version.
The young critics stated a preference for the sword and tights version; that’s fine. The sword and tights version rocks. But I still think this ending is more powerful, more devastating, more heart breaking. I’m sure William would agree.
And for the record, I am not teaching Romeo + Juliet. I’m teaching show, not tell, writing, and how the simplest details can produce devastating, dramatic results.