* AdaptationDisplacement: though Shakespeare's play is the most famous version of the story, variations on it existed prior to said play. See also OlderThanTheyThink below.
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** Academics and tropers are split over the play. Either Romeo and Juliet were in love, but died due to rushing into things and a lot of bad luck, or Romeo just wanted to get into bed with her, or Juliet was looking for a way out of marrying someone she doesn't like and out of her controlling family and Romeo happened to be that way. As far as most of the modern audience is concerned, it's the first one.
** It could also be argued that what Romeo and Juliet thought was true love was in fact just romantic infatuation intensified by ForbiddenFruit.
** Friar Lawrence. Is he a kindly man of God, trying his best to help the two lovers live happily ever after? Or a ManipulativeBastard who knows full well how dangerous his plans are, but wants peace in his city and is willing to risk two children's lives for the greater good?
* ClicheStorm: Even when it was ''written'', the story had been told in various other forms.
* DesignatedProtagonistSyndrome: Romeo and Juliet both suffer from this. Most modern readers view them as immature teenagers driven by mere infatuation, when there are very likable supporting characters like Mercutio, Benvolio, Friar Lawrence, and the Nurse.
* DesignatedVillain: We're not supposed to like Paris because he stands between Romeo and Juliet. He was courting Juliet in the manner customary of the time, and is the only character who is killed without doing anything to deserve it.
* DracoInLeatherPants: Tybalt sometimes receives this treatment. In the Zeferelli version, he's played by a young Michael York. Creator/AlanRickman has also played the role.
** In the 1996 version, almost literally, as he's dressed in tight-fitting black pants, with sharply tailored jackets and... very tight vest tops.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Mercutio, who has all the good lines in the early part of the play, making it more jolting when he's killed.
** Arguably, Benvolio too, who seems to have found some standing amongst young people who value sanity over romance.
*** On a similar note, the Friar. In his first appearance, he scolds Romeo for falling for a girl he just met, while completely forgetting about the girl he was talking about two days ago. In his next appearance, he calls out Romeo for [[{{Wangst}} whining]], and tells him to suck it up and look on the bright side.
** The Nurse is also a well-liked character with some great lines. Doubly so if the actress playing her is a LargeHam.
* FoeYay: Between Romeo and Tybalt. "The reason that I have to love thee," indeed...
* FreudWasRight: All the talk about swords, with a healthy dose of {{HoYay}}.
** The first scene alone is full of DoubleEntendre dialogue about "taking the wall of any man or maid" and taking "maiden heads". Being Shakespeare, this is not surprising.
* HilariousInHindsight: One of Juliet's lines in Act 2, Scene 2 is "Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'ay'." Read this with knowledge of a conversation in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestI'', in which the princess also asks "Dost thou love me?" and serves as the TropeNamer for ButThouMust.
* HoYay: Mercutio/Romeo, Mercutio/Benvolio.
* IdiotPlot: Mercutio, Tybalt, Romeo, Capulet, Juliet, Balthazar and Paris make some ''very'' bad decisions in this play. It might actually be more convenient to list the characters who ''aren't'' TooDumbToLive.
* IronWoobie: The Nurse. Despite having lost her husband, daughter, surrogate daughter and very close kindsman, she is possibly the least {{angst}}y character in the play.
* ItWasHisSled: They both commit suicide.
* MisaimedFandom: A ridiculous number of people with bad reading comprehension skills [[CompletelyMissingThePoint think that this is the way to have a relationship,]] ignoring the fact that the couple ''dies'' at the end.
** It reads more as a ''{{deconstruction}}'' of the typical StarCrossedLovers plot.
* MoralEventHorizon: Tybalt crosses it by killing Mercutio with a cheap shot, thus setting off a chain of events leading directly to the DownerEnding. This is softened in some adaptations, including the Zeferelli version, where Tybalt kills him ''accidentally'' while trying to knife Romeo (who was trying to intervene) and is somewhat horrified upon realizing who he had wounded.
* OlderThanTheyThink: It was not uncommon for Shakespeare to "borrow" his plots from other works. The story of Romeo and Juliet was heavily based on a poem by the English poet Arthur Brooks called ''The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet''. Brooks in turn got the story from a number of Italian and French novellas about Romeo/Romeus and Juliet/Julietta/Giulietta. These works bears many similarities to the story of "[[ClassicalMythology Pyramus and Thisbe]]" in Creator/{{Ovid}}'s ''Literature/{{Metamorphoses}}''.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: A very short one in ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', but Romeo drops an important point when he's at the apothecary and is paying the poor shopkeeper-money makes more people die than poison, and is just as bad, if not even worse, than poison.
-->There is thy gold, worse poison to men's souls,
-->Doing more murder in this loathsome world,
-->Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.
-->I sell thee poison. Thou hast sold be none.
** And of course one could say the play is basically pointing out that the StarCrossedLovers and LoveAtFirstSight tropes don't really work in RealLife and that getting into an irresponsible relationship can end pretty badly.
* TooCoolToLive: Mercutio. Shakespeare once claimed that he "had to kill Mercutio before Mercutio killed him."
** This is referenced in ''Film/ShakespeareInLove'', where Shakespeare tells the LargeHam leader of the acting company (Creator/BenAffleck) that Mercutio is the ''lead'' while the play is still a work in progress.
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: It's hard to feel sorry for Romeo and Juliet at the end of the play, considering that their misery is their own fault.
* ValuesDissonance: Juliet is ''only thirteen and already getting married'', not to mention her parents are trying to push her into an ArrangedMarriage (whether she wants it or not). Whilst the brawls and murders is treated with some gravity, the idea that characters would be easily carrying swords around and killing each other off at the drop of a hat would, likewise, be ''unthinkable'' today.
* TheWoobie: The main couple, and also Benvolio qualifies; he's [[OnlySaneMan the voice of reason among his friends]] and he has his cousin banished from Verona after the latter kills Tybalt in revenge for Mercutio.
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