Table of contents
- Genre and Point of view
- Structure and Theme
In both the literary works, the first thing to notice is their title one of which, that is ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (John Green, 2012), is derived from a piece of literature that was written by the writer of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (William Shakespeare, 1597). The title of John Green’s novel was developed from a dialogue in Julius Caesar (William Shakespeare, 1599), as mentioned in the introduction. This is the first and indirect relationship between the two works. Green uses Shakespeare's work as a source for the title of his novel.
Genre and Point of view
The genre of the two pieces of literature is not similar. Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1597) is a drama and The Fault in Our Stars (John Green, 2012) is a fiction. The point of view used to convey the context and content to the audience, in the two pieces of literature, is also different. One of them, Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare, 1597) is a play and the other, The Fault in Our Stars (John Green, 2012), is a novel that uses the first-person perspective. In a play, a reader (if a play is in writing) can comprehend all the characters and perceive their perspectives because of the dialogues they deliver. All characters, in a play, have a role to play and a few dialogues to deliver which convey about themselves to the reader. Whereas, in a novel, the intentions and perspectives of other characters cannot be well comprehended by a reader, because the story is dominated by the first-person narrative. In the novel, the story is narrated from Hazel Grace Lancaster’s perspective, who is the female protagonist. The first-person approach minimizes the view of a reader as it heavily depends on what the female protagonist conveys and how she perceives things. For instance, it is hard to comprehend how each time the male protagonist, Augustus Waters, must have felt when he and Hazel Grace had physical contact. Hazel always felt a rise in tension in her body, as narrated in Chapter 7, pg. 90, L 4-6 in The Fault in Our Stars, but the narration leaves us uninformed regarding how Augustus must have felt or what he thought. Genre and point of view of these works are important to consider because they convey the context and content differently. John Green uses a different genre and point of view in comparison to William Shakespeare and there is no similarity for genre and point of view.
The setting of the two works differs from one another. The play was written in the 16th century which is also known as the Elizabethan period (1558 – 1603) . There has been no clear evidence as to which year the play was written in, but it was written between 1594 and 1596 . It appeared in an unauthorized quarto, in the year 1597 (David Bevington, 2019). Later, an authorized quarto was released in the year 1599 (David Bevington, 2019). The years inform us that the setting in the play was considered as an adaptation to the era it was written in. Italy was the chosen geographical location in the play, but precisely in Verona and Mantua. The protagonists were set to have wealthy social statuses following the Elizabethan era. Another example is a role for a Prince and the writing style that shows adaptation to the time for setting. The novel was published in 2012, in the 21st century. The geographical location of the story was in the United States of America, but precisely in Indiana. The social status of the protagonists was portrayed as if in a middle-class modern family and creates a sense of the modern world in the story following the 21st century. The writing style also differs from the play. In both the works the use of language, environment and social status, of their era, helps them portray a real-life story to their own set of audience. Thus, adaptation to time is intelligible. According to my analysis, the setting seems well-coordinated to their respective eras. There is similarity in the general idea of adapting to the time for the setting. Green adapted to the present for the setting just as William Shakespeare had developed the setting according to his era.
Structure and Theme
The play has a dramatic structure because many events take place within the 5 Acts. The play increases the reader’s suspense steadily until the 1st climax and keeps decreasing until the end of the resolution. The novel, which has 13 chapters, follows a narrative-chronological structure because the events are conveyed by storytelling by the protagonist. The use of the first-person perspective is an example. The main themes that have been observed in both the works are love, family, and death. The protagonists fall in love, but they depart due to their death. The family was also a theme in both these works, because most of the side characters, in both the works, were family members. The two literary works are romantic tragedies. This is a similarity. Although, they have different structure they share similar themes.
The teenagers in the play and the novel are the obvious protagonists. Juliet was under 14 years of age and perhaps she was 13 according to, her father, Lord Capulets dialogue, “My child is yet a stranger in the world, she hath not seen the change of fourteen years” (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene II, Lines 8-9). Although Romeo's age is not mentioned in the play, presumably he too is a teenager. Romeo and Juliet decide to get secretly married. This hasty decision gives the reader an impression of a juvenile nature. Hence, it can be said that both were teenagers. In the novel, Hazel narrates “Late in the winter of my seventeenth year,” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 1, pg. 3, Line 1) which indicates that she is 16. Augustus mentions that he is “seventeen” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 1, pg. 11, Line 11). The writers use the age description to convey that the characters are teenagers, which is a similarity.
There are a few side characters who play vital roles in the Shakespeare play such as Friar Laurence, Nurse, Paris (who is due to marry Juliet) and the others. Whereas, in Green’s novel, the side characters weren’t as significant. Peter Van Houten, the author of “An Imperial Affliction” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 2, pg. 33, Lines 18-19) is the only notable side character in the novel. He was important because “An Imperial Affliction” is Hazel’s favorite book that ends in abruptly without any sequel. Hazel then has several questions regarding the characters in that book. She and Augustus plan to meet Peter Van Houten who lives in Amsterdam to ask him about the abrupt end and questions regarding his book. The use of side characters is heavy in one work in comparison to the other work leaving no similarities.
There are similarities in the characterization of the male protagonists such as being the only son to their parents. They are impulsive and juvenile because they are juvenile. They mention about their past that describes them as charmers. Romeo was attracted to Rosaline in his past. Benvolio says, “sups the fair Rosaline, whom thou so lov’st;” (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene II, Line 91) to Romeo. Whereas, Augustus mentions about his ex-girlfriend. He says, “I had a few good kisses with my ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mothers.” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 5, pg. 72, Lines 1-2) to Hazel. However, the difference in the characterization of the male protagonists is their health status. Romeo was physically healthy, but Augustus was an amputee and suffered from “osteosarcoma” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 1, pg. 11, Line 11), a rare form of bone cancer. This, overall, explains that although Green made use of the play for Augustus’s background and personality, he developed a difference in Augustus’s health. Another similarity is that both the males were attracted to another female character before the female protagonists.
In both literary works, although nothing about the past of the female protagonists is mentioned, there are several similarities in their characterization. Romeo was Juliet’s and Augustus was Hazel's, first attraction. The female protagonists were the only child to their parents. Hazel Grace Lancaster was a cancer patient. There is similarity in the way the female protagonists were brought up. They were under their parents’ supervision and always obeyed them. Hazel attends a Support Group on her mother’s saying, although she is never interested to go. Juliet is due to marry Paris on her father’s saying. This creates an image of a calm and poised trait for both the female protagonist’s character. When the female protagonists meet the male protagonists, the female protagonists are reserved because they don’t initiate the conversation. Both the female protagonists were risk-takers. In the novel, Hazel takes the risk to climb stairs and walk a lot carrying her oxygen tank which exhausts her and pushes her limit. In the play, Juliet risks to fake her death to not marry Paris. Both the female protagonists experience their first love with first males in their lives. The female protagonists share the same personalities. Writers of the two literary works don’t provide much information on any past occurrence in the lives of the female protagonists’ which is a similarity as well.
In both the literary works, the plot consists of important events and I will be comparing these important events to see how similar or different they are. In both literary works, the story revolves around two teenagers who fall in love but die soon after confessing their love due to their circumstances.
In the exposition of both the literary works, which is Act 1 of the play and Chapter 1 of the novel, the male protagonists meet the female protagonists and initiate a conversation. In the play, Romeo meets Juliet in a ball that was arranged in Capulet’s house. The ball was arranged by Juliet’s parents for her and Paris. Romeo says, “If I profane with my unworthy hand…...with a tender kiss.” (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene IV, pg. 24, Lines 33-37) and kisses her hand. In the novel, Hazel is escorted every, “Wednesday” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 1, pg. 4, Line 4) to a Support Group by her parents. During one such session, the protagonists meet, and Augustus speaks to Hazel first. He asks, “What’s your name?” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 1, pg. 14, Lines 25-26). There is a similarity that the female protagonists were in that place because of their parents and because the female protagonists obeyed them. Another similarity is that the male protagonists initiate the conversation.
The proposal scenes in both the works were different due to development, in the story of the novel. Romeo had visited Juliet, and in her balcony, they confessed their feelings. The scene took place on the same evening of the ball. Whereas, Augustus and Hazel started developing feelings for each other as they spent time, but only confessed after spending a night together in Amsterdam. Romeo and Juliet spend a night together after their marriage. During the time, Italian families encouraged marriages at a very young age. Therefore, they decided to marry with the help of Friar Laurence and the Nurse. There is no similarity in the way in which this event takes place in both the works.
The climax, in the play, is Tybalt’s assassination followed by Romeo’s banishment which is caused when Tybalt instigates Romeo to fight, but Mercutio gets enraged on Romeo’s refusal and fights with Tybalt instead. This eventually leads to Mercutio’s death. Then, Tybalt is pursued by Romeo and is killed. In the novel, Augustus revealing to Hazel that his health will worsen during their Amsterdam trip in The Fault in Our Stars (John Green, 2012) is the climax. The similarity is the male protagonists getting affected before the female protagonists and causing the climax scene to take place.
The resolution in both the plots refers to the death and the separation sequence of the two couples. The point of separation between the pairs in both works comes with the death of the male protagonist. Both couples are separated by death. The noticeable similarity is that the male protagonists die first. Romeo says “Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.” (Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene III, Line 133) and dies. Whereas, Augustus’s death is confirmed by Hazel when she says, “Augustus Waters died eight days after his prefuneral,” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 21, pg. 261, Line 1). Thus, the male characters die before the female protagonists, but they eventually die as well. Friar Laurence does send a note to Romeo informing about Juliet’s fake death, but Romeo receives the news of Juliet’s death before the note. The note fails to reach him on time. Romeo dies after he consumes “poison” (Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene III, Line 90) on seeing his wife lay like a dead person. Juliet wakes up to see Romeo die beside her, after the kiss, and she stabs herself from Romeo’s dagger. She says, “let me die.” (Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene III, Line 200). Hazel’s death isn’t mentioned in the book, but her disease makes her mortal.
A difference in the resolution can be referred to the circumstances under which the protagonists are separated. Although it is death that separates the protagonists, the reason for their death is different. In the play, the protagonists choose to die due to an age-old vendetta between their families and the unstable relationship between them. Whereas, in the novel, the protagonists are mortal due to their health issues. Augustus and Hazel couldn’t help changing their destiny. They were to be separated at a point. The fault was in their stars. These circumstances, according to my analysis, seem well-coordinated and adapted to the eras they were written in. Nowadays, it is more likely for people to have an incomplete love life due to the disease they suffer from rather than a family grudge.
However, there is another similarity in the resolution of the plot. In the play, both the families reconcile, and in the novel, the female protagonist receives long-awaited answers to the questions that she had regarding a book. The name of the book is mentioned as “An Imperial Affliction” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 2, pg. 33, Lines 18-19). The similarity is in the realization of families in the play and of the author, of “An Imperial Affliction”, in the novel. Another similarity is that, that these events should’ve taken place when the protagonists were together, but they take place when it is too late in the plot which is after the separation of the couples.
Juliet drinks “distilled liquor” (Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene I, pg. 70 Line 32) given by Friar Laurence to fake her death and to not marry Paris. The drug will make her sleep for “two and forty hours” (Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene I, pg. 71 Line 1). After researching, with the help of a second source, I can say that the drug used in the play is very unlikely to exist in those days . Hazel takes “Phalanxifor” (The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 2, pg. 25, Line 20) that would reduce the growing speed of cancer cells in her body. She takes the treatment to survive longer. These drugs are scripted and not real. “there is no such thing as Phalanxifor. I made it up because I would like for it to exist.' says John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, pg. 315 Line 2-3). Both the writers made up the existence of the drugs, for the female protagonists, which is a similarity.
There are similarities and dissimilarities in the two works. Most of the differences were due to the development in some areas of the novel. These developments were taken to adapt to the time, and audience, the work was written in and for. These changes make the two works seem like a realistic occurrence. Thus, dissimilarities in setting such as the language, environment and social status are penetrable. However, there are strong links, such as the title of the novel, that shows the make use. Both the works have different genre and point of view which is also correlated to the structure of the work. However, the two pieces of literature share the same themes and much of the character traits are also borrowed by Green from the play. Although characterization in the two works seems natural and unexaggerated the characterization of protagonists is very similar. The plot, of both the works, shows a lot of similarities. The exposition and the effects of the climax scene in the plot are similar. The resolution is also a huge similarity because although they have romance, they are a tragedy and do not have a happy ending. A story is presumed to have a happy ending, by the audience, if it has romance, but it is not applied to the chosen works. In the resolution, the leading couples die or eventually die (Hazel) which is the cause for their separation but the cause for their death is not similar. This too is an adaptation to time. In the very end, the realization in both plots brings a sense of satisfaction. It is because no bad blood is left, and no questions are left unanswered. With all these similarities, the dissimilarities seem to play a minor role in my opinion.