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1 Caption: Meanwhile, in 15th century fair Verona:
1 Death of Drinking Poison Over a Broken Heart: SO ROMEO, YOU DRANK POISON BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT JULIET WAS DEAD.
1 Romeo: Yeah.
2 Death of Drinking Poison Over a Broken Heart: YET, AS YOU NOW SEE, SHE LIVES.
2 Romeo: Uh, yeah.
2 Death of Drinking Poison Over a Broken Heart: YOU MUST FEEL PRETTY STUPID ABOUT NOW.
3 Romeo: Yeah, well, maybe it’s for the best. She can move on. Maybe regain her family’s good graces and live a long, happy life wed to another.
4 Romeo: Hey, who are you?
4 Death of Stabbing Yourself Over a Broken Heart: DEATH OF STABBING YOURSELF OVER A BROKEN HEART.
4 Romeo: Ah, sod.
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This is a random idea that's been sitting in my ideas file for many years, suggested by a long-ago reader. I always liked the concept, but it's taken me until now to bring it to life. Or Death, as the case may be.
According to various sources, Romeo and Juliet is set at an unspecified time during either the 13th, 14th, 15th, or 16th centuries. Many sources narrow it down to some contiguous subset of these centuries, but collating across multiples gives this range. I went with 15th pretty much at random, because there doesn't seem to be a lot of clues to suggest anything more specific.
Historically set productions are typically set during the Italian Renaissance, but this doesn't help much, as the Renaissance is usually said to cover the 15th and 16th centuries, while some scholars argue that it covers the entirety of the 13th and 16th centuries as well. But then this is only when conventional productions of the play are typically set. Shakespeare gives no indication of when the play is set, and it could also be argued that the events occur before the Renaissance.
Shakespearean scholars thus debate the setting and generally don't agree. Shakespeare is however generally believed to have written the play between 1591 and 1595, which likely places an upper limit to the intended year of the setting, towards the end of the 16th century.
Although it would be fun to argue that Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet in the future, and intended it to be a science fiction blockbuster.
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