Romeo and Juliet
“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it. ” These famous words were written by George Bernard Shaw, a famous writer and critic. These words struck a nerve somewhere in my mind when I came across them. Not only is it an incredibly well written quote, but it seemed to summarize so much that I had gone through in just one line. No matter whom George Bernard Shaw may have been, how he lived his life, when he was born, or even when he died, in my mind, his memory would always be associated with one particular quote.
This one sentence of his was powerful enough to keep him in my memory forever. We remember many individuals from the past, yet those we remember from centuries long gone by are usually writers. William Shakespeare passed away on the 23rd of April 1616 and Edgar Allen Poe in 1849. W. Somerset Maugham’s body was lowered to the ground on the 16th of December 1965. As is evident, these three men lived on this earth during completely different eras. From the 1700’s to the 20th Century a great deal of time is covered between the lives of these three individuals.
However, the modern world, they are remembered equally fondly by society, thanks to their writing. Hundreds of thousands of people read the works of both modern and historical authors, and as a result, the authors are remembered as well. As we flip through the pages of a book, analyzing each sentence with the same thoroughness, we begin to realize that we are not simply reading words on paper but the thoughts and opinions of writers. As we move through the book, we imagine not only the story unfolding, but also the author writing those very words that have us glued to the text.
We have a picture in our mind of Shakespeare sitting down in his office, dipping his quill into ink, and writing the letters which form the magical sentences of his plays. “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo. ” This may be the catchiest phrase from Romeo and Juliet, and for each individual this phrase will induce different emotions in each of us, and the same is true for Shakespeare. Something he experienced drove him to write this as the final sentence of his great play.
As a result, we get a peak into the psyche of the man. W. Somerset Maugham’s style of writing varied compared to that of William Shakespeare. Maugham tended to involve himself in almost all of his novels, interacting with characters, moving in and out of the story as he pleased, and revealing the most fascinating sides to his characters personalities. As a result, we get the opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge not only about the individuals he mingled with, but also about the life and experiences of Maugham himself.
He may no longer be with us, and thus unable to voice those experiences himself, yet the books he wrote manage to capture the essence of what he wanted us to know, both concerning his life and those around him. When we associate with pain, suffering, and death, the only name that comes to mind is Edgar Allen Poe, as he is most famous for this particular genre of novels. However, Poe also reveals a major part of his own character in these novels. When we read about the obsession with death and darkness, we are not only intrigued by the darkness and mystery, but also by the deepest, darkest thoughts of the writer.
We sit and wonder about what could have driven a man to such an obsession with death and darkness, and will forever remember him and his perspective on life through his books and poems. With the passage of time, everything on this earth vanishes into dust. The shape of the earth evolves; the plants, tress, grass, and lakes disappear and reappear in different locations and forms. Generations thrive upon the land, and eventually begin their passage towards the grave as the transition from one generation to the next begins. From this generation of millions, the individuals who are engraved in the minds of generations are those who write.
When they write, whether in the first century or the 21st century, is not of consequence. The fact remains that their work will be treasured for hundreds if not thousands of years into the future. The majority of society is content if they are remembered by their relatives and friends in a positive light at their passing, however, for these authors eternal recognition is reserved. Their body may be lying six feet beneath the surface of the earth for millions of years, yet their heart, mind, and soul will be forever alive in the form of their words. As long as people treasure their words, then they as individuals will be treasured as well.