balcony

Romeo, Romeo, Where’s My Balcony?

Whenever you think of Romeo and Juliet, what is the one scene that stands out in the mind of every single individual that has ever heard the story? That’s right, the balcony scene when Juliet is shouting out for Romeo. It’s so romantic.

But there’s a problem.

The problem is that Shakespeare never even mentioned a balcony in the original play, and yet it has found its way into every play and movie that has existed since the 17th century, especially in modern adaptations. Instead, what has happened is that people have inserted a scene that originally appeared in a 17th century play by Thomas Otway.

In that play, called ‘The History and Fall of Caius Marius’ Otway ripped off the work by Shakespeare and threw in a balcony scene just to be different. Over the centuries, aspects of the two have somehow become entwined resulting in the balcony scene appearing in productions of Shakespeare’s play, with which we are all familiar with today.

Oh, and furthermore, nobody had even heard of a balcony back in the days of Shakespeare, so unless he was able to time travel, it would have been impossible for him to write about it.