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Tudor Minute March 19, 1563: Inspiration for Romeo and Juliet

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for March 19.

Today in 1563 Arthur Brooke died in a shipwreck. He was an English poet, and in 1562 he published a poem called The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, the key source for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Brooke supposedly translated it from an Italian novella by Matteo Bandello.

Little is known about Arthur Brooke. He became a member of Inner Temple on 18 December 1561; Sponsored by Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton. When he drowned he was on his way to help Protestant forces in the French Wars of Religion.

Brooke’s poem is much different Shakespeare’s play – in the end the nurse is banished and the apothecary is hanged for their involvement in the deception, while Friar Lawrence leaves Verona to end his days in a hermitage.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where there is a recent episode on what Shakespeare tells us about love in Renaissance England.


Episode 097: That Shakespeare Girl on Elizabethan Romance

Episode 044: Elizabethan Theater