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Released: 2021″Love Story” by Taylor Swift is molded around the fantastical allusion to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with a star-crossed love narrative that tussles against family discord. Distinguished by Swift’s keen storytelling ability, the song transforms Shakespeare’s tragic tale into an audacious fairy tale romance, driven by youthful defiance and steadfast resilience.

In the first verse, Swift uses vivid imagery to paint the scene of the first meeting: “I’m standing there / On a balcony in summer air”. The balcony here is a reference from Romeo and Juliet, where the famous balcony scene takes place. The Romeo here is not the literal character from the play, but a metaphorical representation of a suitor or lover who’s deemed unsuitable by Swift’s father, evident from the edict “Stay away from Juliet”.

The chorus invites us into Swift’s yearning: “Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone / You’ll be the prince, and I’ll be the princess”. She’s resolute in her desire for a fairytale romance, placing herself and her lover in archetypal roles, challenging her Romeo to have the courage to be her prince.

The second verse amplifies their defiance, escaping together to “a garden” imbued with clandestine thrills: “We keep quiet ’cause we’re dead if they knew”. She identifies herself as a “scarlet letter”, alluding to Hawthorne’s novel where the protagonist is stigmatized by society for an adulterous affair, hinting at the weight of the societal judgement they’re facing.

The bridge shifts the tone to determination despite the odds: “This love is difficult, but it’s real”. Swift’s Romeo reassures her that their love story won’t end in tragedy. He proposes, reinforcing the fairy tale motif, insisting against the world, “Marry me, Juliet, you’ll never have to be alone”. This is a grand deviation from Shakespeare’s scene, flipping the script on tragedy and asserting the power of their love.

In a nutshell, “Love Story” is a song of audacious young love, taking shelter in the realm of romance against societal disapproval, a testament to Swift’s exceptional ability to weave a narrative that feels both timeless and deeply personal.

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