Romeo and Juliet and their Connection to Mathematics

My English Honors class was finishing the Shakespearean play “Romeo and Juliet” during the last week of school before Spring Break. We started reading “Romeo and Juliet” at about the same time that I started writing this blog. During the time we were reading, we would also watch scenes of movies based on the play whenever we would finish an act. We would watch the scenes of the movies that were based on the acts we just finished. Whenever we watched the movies, we would compare the original script of “Romeo and Juliet” to two different movies. We watched the Zeffirelli and Luhrmann versions of “Romeo and Juliet.” (Anyone who has watched both movies would know that the Luhrmann version is so much better than the Zeffirelli version, but both versions are worth watching.) The Zeffirelli version is set within the Elizabethan era that the original script was written in. The Luhrmann version is a modernized version of “Romeo and Juliet” (and in my opinion, it is better than the Zeffirelli version). It has proven that the themes in “Romeo and Juliet” can occur in today’s world like it did in the Elizabethan era. I know that those of you who have read this blog before know that this is a blog about mathematics. What does “Romeo and Juliet” have to do with mathematics? Those of you who are reading are about to find out.

I just explained what I have been doing in my English Honors class during the last month before Spring Break. I know that most of you are wondering how “Romeo and Juliet” can be connected to mathematics. I will explain how Shakespearean plays are similar to graphs. Most if not all Shakespearean plays have five acts. William Shakespeare didn’t write all of his plays in five acts on accident. He had his purposes. Shakespeare was using the “bare bones of a plot” when writing his acts. Most of the first act is the exposition, the introduction of the characters and the story. The ending of the first act and the whole second act is the rising action, the action that leads up to a conflict. The third act is the climax and usually, the most enticing act of the play. The fourth act is the falling action. The fifth act is the resolution of the conflict introduced in the rising action. The resolution is also known as the denouement. Shakespearean plays are similar to graphs because all of them will rise slowly at first and then rise more quickly. Eventually, the graph will begin to reach a point in which it can no longer rise, but it must begin to fall. While some graphs (especially graphs displaying logistic growth) will remain at approximately the same points once the graphs reach their peaks, others will begin to fall until the graph is almost as low as it was to begin with.

I hope all of you readers and those who followed me enjoyed reading this post about how Shakespearean plays can be compared to graphs. Peace out for two weeks. Have an awesome Spring Break.

Romeo and Juliet Luhrmann

©Meg Pickard (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


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