From its first successful performances in Elizabethan london down to our own time, the extraordinary theatrical appeal of Romeo and Juliet has made it one of the most enduringly popular of all Shakespeare's plays. But although audiences the world over appear to have had little trouble recognizing the exceptional power and value of the tragedy, most modern Shakespearean critics have found it a play far more difficult to come to terms with. Not only do they tend to be much less enthusiastic about its overall merit, but they are also in fundamental disagreement about the nature of its vision .