As I understand it, the scholarship has so far not compellingly answered a significant question of the text of Romeo and Juliet; namely, why the Capulets and the Montagues are at war.

I am convinced based on my understanding of Shakespeare's poetics that an unmistakably correct answer is supplied in the text, however cleverly and discreetly.

Please provide the closest hypotheses of which you are aware - your own or scholars' - to that "unmistakably correct answer."

  • 7
    I don't see any reason why Shakespeare would have needed or wanted to give the cause of the feud. Feuds weren't unusual. One of the messages of the play is that feuds are senseless. If Shakespeare had implied that the feud originally had a valid cause, he would be undercutting this message.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 9:37
  • There is an interesting paper "The Origins of the Legend of Romeo and Juliet in Italy" by Olin H. Moore, published in Speculum, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Jul., 1930), pp. 264-277; ( jstor.org/stable/2848744 ). Bottom line summary: there was no feud, it's just a story. Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 19:19
  • See also O. H. Moore's 1950 book, The Legend of Romeo and Juliet, ohiostatepress.org/books/Complete%20PDFs/Moore%20Legend/… which is less terse than his 1930 article. Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 19:58
  • 3
    What is the reasoning that convinced you that the question is significant and has an answer? What's wrong with the idea that the history of the feud is just not part of the story?
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 21:10
  • Dante's Purgatorio VI, 106-108: "Vieni a veder Montecchi e Cappelletti, // Monaldi e Filippeschi, uom sanza cura: // color già tristi, e questi con sospetti!". Montecchi and Cappelletti were, respectively, from Verona and Cremona. They were were two families around which had gathered the two factions – imperial and anti-imperial – that had upheaved, until the mid-13th century, the whole of Lombardy.
    – Charo
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 13:24


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