Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, is one of the most well-known and classic plays ever written. Centered around the thrilling love story of Romeo and Juliet, the story has comical, romantic, and adventurous elements. 

The two lovers hail from two enemy families and are not destined to ever meet, let alone fall in love. However, despite their fate and differences, they meet and fall in love at first sight. Immediately after they meet, they make plans to get married and are wedded the next day. Shortly after the wedding, Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt. Romeo arrives, and Tybalt challenges him. However, Romeo politely declines because he just got married to Tybalt’s cousin, so he did not want to fight with his kin. Instead of fighting Romeo, Tybalt starts a brawl with Mercutio, which results in the death of Mercutio. At the sight of dead Mercutio, Romeo chases Tybalt down in a fit of rage. This results in the death of Tybalt, and Romeo flees the scene. The Prince approaches the scene and orders that Romeo should be banished. The two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are separated from each other just as quickly as they got together. Romeo leaves for Mantua after spending just one night with Juliet on Monday, while Juliet’s father, who is ignorant of her marriage to Romeo, tells her that she is to marry Paris on Thursday morning. Paris converses with Friar Laurence about his wedding to Juliet the next morning, and Friar Laurence concocts a plan with Juliet to get her out of it. They agree that Juliet will take a drug that will cause her to look deceased so that she could sneak away with Romeo eventually. The plan foils when the news does not reach Romeo in Mantua, and instead, Romeo is told that his bride has passed away. When he reaches her tomb, he consumes a poison concoction, which kills him. Dramatically, Juliet awakes just a moment after his death, and she wakes up to her dead lover. In an act of rashness, Juliet stabs herself with a knife, and the whirlwind romance of Romeo and Juliet dramatically ends after 5 days. 

This story, written by William Shakespeare is very iconic and has been adapted to fit with popular culture and trending times through history. It has been made as several movies, countless stage plays, and numerous book adaptations. The basic plot of the story is captivating to audiences of all ages, and it proves to be a successful and entertaining story to this day. 

-Karis K.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, written by the well-known Robert Louis Stevenson, is a dark story that has a very intelligent meaning behind it. 

The story begins with a respected lawyer named Mr. Utterson, listening to his friend Enfield tell a chilling story of assault. The story describes a figure named Mr. Hyde, who tramples a young girl, and disappears into a door on the street, only to make an appearance when the onlookers call him out to pay his respects to the girl and her relatives. They agree not to discuss the situation further because they do not approve of gossip. However, it happens that one of Mr. Utterson’s clients, Dr. Jekyll, has a written will transferring all of his property to the same Mr. Hyde. Out of curiosity, Utterson does his own research by first making a visit to Dr. Lanyon. Lanyon reports that he no longer sees much of Jekyll ever since their dispute over Jekyll’s research, which Lanyon refers to as “unscientific balderdash”.

Then, Utterson encounters Mr. Hyde at the home in which he trampled the young girl, and he is amazed at how ugly and deformed the man seems. A year goes by with not much commotion over the situation until a servant girl witnesses Hyde brutally beat a member of Parliament and a client of Utterson to death. The police contact Utterson, and he immediately suspects Hyde and leads the police to Hyde’s personal address. However, upon arrival at the apartment, the murderer has vanished, and the police search proves futile. Shortly thereafter, Utterson again visits Jekyll, who now claims to have ended all relations with Hyde. He shows Utterson a note, allegedly written by Hyde, apologizing for the trouble he caused and saying goodbye. That night, however, Utterson’s clerk points out that Hyde’s handwriting bears a remarkable similarity to Jekyll’s own. Over the next few months, Jekyll acts very sociably and friendly until he abruptly cuts off ties with all people after the suspicious death of Lanyon. Then, one day, Jekyll’s butler, Poole, storms into Utterson’s house, pleading for help with his master. The two travel to Jekyll’s laboratory where they are shocked to find the body of Hyde, wearing Jekyll’s clothes and dead by suicide, and a letter from Jekyll to Utterson promising to explain everything. Jekyll opens the letter from Lanyon at home to find a chilling message that his death was caused by the shock of seeing Mr. Hyde metamorphose into Dr. Jekyll. The rest of the story dives into Jekyll’s dilemma about metamorphosis and his cry for help. As much as he tries to control it, Jekyll starts to subconsciously turn into Hyde. Jekyll understands that his other persona, Hyde, is a danger to society, and he debates committing suicide, and the novel closes with the end of Jekyll’s letter. 

This story, by Robert Louis Stevenson, can be very chilling and mysterious. Behind the complicated story that Stevenson wrote, there is actually a deeper meaning behind it. The author was trying to get into the concept of brain duality, which is why he emphasized the contrast between Jekyll and Hyde so heavily. Overall, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a very entertaining and mysterious story, which has a deeper meaning behind it.

-Karis K, 9th grade

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be downloaded for free from Overdrive.