Which Shakespeare play features the line, "Deny thy father and refuse thy name?"

And the answer: Romeo and Juliet.

In the play, the two lovers are from feuding families: the Montagues and the Capulets. In the scene, Juliet says, "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet."

Photo credit: FROM A.F. ARCHIVE/ALAMY.

Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. Adaptations from West Side Story to Gnomeo and Juliet have long since capitalized on the love story between our ill-fated lovers, and yet the story contains a history to which not all are familiar. Take a look at these Romeo and Juliet facts below.

  1. The Montagues and Capulets existed in literature well before Shakespeare's time.  It's true. In Dante's Divine Comedy, he delivers the following line: "Come and see, you who are negligent, / Montagues and Capulets, Monaldi and Filippeschi: / One lot already grieving, the other in fear. / Come, you who are cruel, come and see the distress / Of your noble families, and cleanse their rottenness." Dante's Divine Comedy dates back some 250 years before Shakespeare was even born.
  2. Juliet is 13 years old while the events of the play take place. Say what? Though you might be aware that the lovers are referred to as "young" pretty much every time Shakespeare gets the chance, it may come as a surprise to find out just how young. Talk about rough teenage years.
  3. It wasn't until 1662 that a woman played Juliet. In the days of early British theater, all stage roles were occupied by men. British actress Mary Saunderson is believed to be the first to take on the role of Juliet.
  4. "Romeo" is now used to describe a male suitor. You might be aware of Romeo and Juliet's all-but total immersion into Western culture, but did you know that the Merriam-Webster dictionary holds a definition for Romeo as “the hero of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet who dies for love of Juliet," but also “a male lover?" The more you know!

Learn more about Romeo and Juliet below.


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