Comparing noughts and crosses by Malorie Blackman to Romeo and Juliet Noughts and Crosses is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Noughts & Crosses is a modern-day tale set in an alternative world where you are either a ‘Cross’ with dark skin or a ‘nought’ with white skin. It is a book about race, power and truth. In this book Sephy (Persephone) is a cross and Callum her best friend and soon to be lover Callum is a nought In some ways the book is very similar to Romeo and Juliet. For example Sephy (Persephone) has a close relationship with her mother’s secretary Sarah.
This links with Romeo and Juliet because Juliet had a close bond with her nurse and in some ways Sarah is like a nurse to her. One scene that really emphasises this is when Callum sneaks into Sephy’s room and they sleep together. In the morning Sarah covers for her by kicking Callum’s trainers under the bed and out of her mother’s sight. She generally knew what she was doing because she said “get Callum dressed and out of here”. In Romeo and Juliet the nurse covers for Juliet when the same scenario occurs in the play.
Juliet’s relationship with the nurse is very warm. It is the nurse who cares for Juliet when she is sick, who sits on her bed and holds her hand when Juliet is afraid, who helps her get dressed for parties. Sarah although maybe not quite as close as Juliet and her nurse has a very similar relationship with Sephy in Noughts and Crosses. Another example is how noughts and crosses are perceived as such rivals. In accordance to Romeo and Juliet with the Capulet’s and Montages the same rivalry occurs. Being in love with someone from the other side is seen as unfeasible.
However, when the two (Friar and Nurse) learn about the forbidden love, their views on the marriage contrast. While the Friar is supportive of the lovers, the Nurse has more of a biased opinion. Because of their difference in opinion, the end result is the Nurse ultimately betraying Juliet by siding with her parents, while the Friar continued to believe that peace through their marriage could be ...
What also is interesting is that both books/plays and both sets of main characters choose to go against this and as a consequence end up paying a harsh price for their mistakes. In more detail this means that Callum was eventually hung for his love for Sephy and because the courts were convinced he had raped her. In Romeo and Juliet they both end up dying. Romeo drinks poison and Juliet stabs herself with a dagger. Another example is how Juliet loves her mother in a dutiful daughter way but they do not have a warm, close relationship.
She respects her mother, and wants to live up to her mother’s expectations. This is like Sephy’s relationship with her mother. Because her mother is a raging alcoholic she admired her as a mother but never really felt that emotionally connected with her. Another example is Lord Capulet’s response to Juliet’s “disobedience” is so violently harsh that I began to see him as a bit of a tyrant. We see the physical aggression most prominently in the big, confrontational scene with Juliet over whether or not she will marry Paris.
When Juliet refuses, Capulet screams, “Out you baggage, you tallow face” “My fingers itch” when Juliet stands up, which suggests that he’s prone to physical violence. He also lashes out against the nurse and his wife. This behaviour towards Juliet is similar to Sephy’s dad when she is adamant that she wants to keep her baby. She states that his immediate reaction was to slap her across the face.
This shows he is a frustrated violent person because he did not manage to get what he wanted to get. Which was to save his reputation as prime minister).
He then continued to abuse her with words by calling her a “blanker’s slut”. Blanker is a bad word for nought and so implies that he no longer favours her as his loving daughter but a neglected child that threatens to ruin his career. In both stories the father is demanding an expectation from their daughters and they both do not obey. This makes these stories very similar because of the relationships with the parents which are both so detached and strained.
Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare at a relatively early stage in his literary career, most probably in 1594 or 1595. During most of the twentieth century, critics belittled this play in comparison to the four great tragedies that Shakespeare wrote in the first decade of the seventeenth century (Hamlet, King Lear, MacBeth, and Othello). Romeo and Juliet appears to lack the emotional depth ...