What exactly happened when Romeo and Juliet, the world's most famous lovers, met for the first time? We know that the young couple met one evening in July and declared their love for each other immediately. We know that they married the next day and shortly afterwards proved that they were willing to die for one another. But why Romeo, wherefore Juliet? Juliet found Romeo irresistible, yet he was recently rejected out of hand by her cousin Rosaline. Juliet herself was a beautiful young woman, but 'all the admired beauties of Verona' were also present at the banquet where they met. What made Juliet, rather than any other woman present, so special in Romeo's eyes?
Shakespeare hints at many answers to such questions in the text of the play. In this book those hints are expanded and augmented by comments from some two hundred other writers, poets and the occasional scientist. Justifiable speculation allows more than 160 factors that contributed to their mutual passion to be identified and discussed.
When Romeo Met Juliet is meant to lead to a deeper understanding of Shakespeare's play, but it aims to do more than that. Using the Romeo-Juliet experience as a case study, it attempts to throw light on the mystery of human attraction that we know as 'falling in love.' For a privileged few, it is 'love at first sight.' That, Juliet suggests, is like being struck by lightning, but we suspect that it is how love should be.