I know what you're thinking. How could Romeo and Juliet possibly be any darker? Answer: Have Oscar Wilde write The Duchess Of Padua.
Guido is given the task of avenging his father's death and his mother's unfortunate demise shortly after when he falls for the Duchess of Padua. The Duchess, of course, is married to the Duke so this poses an issue for their love and quite the quandary for Guido.
They court in the shadows, plot murder, yada yada yada, people die in the end (I don't want to give away the ending, but it's pretty close to that of Romeo and Juliet, just a little more twisted).
Now with that said, I found so much beauty in this play that my Kindle has many highlighted notes throughout the work.
"Ask of the sea-bird if it loves the sea,
Ask of the roses if they love the rain,
Ask of the little lark, that will not sing
Till day break, if it loves to see the day:-
And yet, these are but empty images,
Mere shadows of my love, which is a fire
So great that all the waters of the main
Can not avail to quench it."
DUCHESS "The first day that I saw you
I let you take my heart away from me;
Unwilling thief, that without meaning it
Did break into my fenced treasury
And filch my jewel from it! O strange theft,
Which made you richer though you knew it not,
And left me poorer, and yet glad of it!"
GUIDO "O love, love, love! Nay, sweet, lift up your head,
Let me unlock those little scarlet doors
That shut in music, let me dive for coral
In your red lips, and I'll bear back a prize
Richer than all the gold the Gryphon guards
In Rude Armenia."
Whew! Now that's hot. Unfortunately, this is literary blindness. As reality usually shows, passion like this is not forever.
And of course, there are a few quotes that just made me giggle:
MORANZONE "Is the Duke dead?"
SECOND CITIZEN "He has a knife in his heart, which they say is not healthy for any man."
All in all, a good read. This was my first Oscar Wilde reading experience, and I do have to say it was a good one. Plays are always faster reads for me, so it was a break from some of the longer books I've been reading.