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"Pyramus und Thisbe", 1530 Hans Baldung (1484-1545) Gemaldgalerie, Berlin, Germany

Pyramus and Thisbe lived in Babylon and developed a strong passion for each other. The story became immortalized by Ovid and rekindled by Shakespeare as Romeo and Juliete. The "Metamorphoses" by Ovid, translated by A. D. Melville  is not just a translation but also an outstanding original poetic contribution -
 
" ... she, the fairest girl of all ...
wedding torches would have flamed
but for their fathers ban ... "
 
 

When Pyramus mistakenly thought that Thisbe was killed, he committed suicide. When Thisbe discovered Pyramus, she impaled herself on his sword. Whenever a great artist elaborates on a theme already developed by another, a question of plagiarism arises. Clearly Shakespeare and Goethe, among others, were inspired by the work of other great artists but neither "Romeo and Juliet" nor the several versions of "Dr. Faust or Faustus" degrade original versions.

 
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