Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Back to the Past III

Author: Paulo Coelho

Romeo and Juliet meet in New York. I was a teenager when I first saw the movie, and my first impulse was: I want to be in one of these gangs! My second impulse was: I want to fall in love.

But boys are always like this, isn’t true? Fight and love – in that order.

Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to Ancient Greece. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1582. Brooke and Painter were Shakespeare’s chief sources of inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. He borrowed heavily from both, but developed minor characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris, in order to expand the plot. Believed to be written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. This text was of poor quality, and later editions corrected it, bringing it more in line with Shakespeare’s original text.

This is my generation “translation” of the old drama. Romeo is called Tony, Juliet is called Maria, the rival families ( Montagues and Capulets) are called the Sharks (PuertoRicans) and the Jets (Americans). If you did not see the movie, you must.

By the way, the scene above is “the night”. Gang against gang, love searching for love.

Subscribe to Blog

Join 16.9K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs