Romeo Montague (Romeo Montecchi) is the protagonist of William Shakespeares tragedy Romeo and Juliet. The son of Montague and his wife, he secretly loves and marries Juliet, a member of the rival House of Capulet. Forced into exile after slaying Juliets cousin, Tybalt, in a duel, Romeo commits suicide upon hearing falsely of Juliets death.The characters origins can be traced as far back as Pyramus, who appears in Ovids Metamorphoses, but the first modern incarnation of Romeo is Mariotto in the 33rd of Masuccio Salernitanos Il Novellino (1476). This story was adapted by Luigi da Porto as Giulietta e Romeo (1530), and Shakespeares main source was an English verse translation of this text by Arthur Brooke. Although both Salernitano and da Porto claimed that their stories had historical basis, there is little evidence that this is the case.Romeo, an only child like Juliet, is one of the most important characters of the play, and has a consistent presence throughout it. His role as an idealistic lover has led the word Romeo to become a synonym for a passionate male lover in various languages. Although often treated as such, it is not clear that Montague is a surname in the modern sense.
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