I'm reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Do you have any tips you can give me before I start reading, to help me understand it better?
Wherefore art thou Romeo ! means he's in the bar again, these Italians are characters you know, you must remember this was English before the Americans got hold of it and the quality of mercy was not strained
As others have said, get a good annotated edition, but NOT one of those idiotic "No Fear" "translations," which are utterly horrible.
But also, watch one of the movie versions before you read it. It's a play, and was meant to be performed and watched, not read on the page. It'll probably be easier to understand if you have seen the actors actually performing the story first.
When I was in high school there was a series of books published by the Folger Shakespeare Library which were very helpful. They were the plays of Shakespeare, but they were annotated in a way that made them easier for a student to understand. The original text of the play appeared on the right hand page while notes explaining difficult language appeared on the left hand side.
This type of book helped me a lot in high school. I read a couple of plays by Shakespeare in required classes and then went on to take an elective in Shakespeare, because I enjoyed his plays so much. Today, I have seen many productions of his plays (particularly the history plays, which are my favorites.)
Unfortunately, these volumes seem to be out of print now. You might be able to fine a used copy at abebooks.com where you can get used copies of just about anything - and so cheap!!!
If not, there are a few different publishers that publish Shakespeare's plays in modern English. But be careful! Don't just read the modern English or you'll miss a lot of inference in the original text.
EDIT: I did a search for you on AbeBooks.com and here is the result of the search:
You can get a copy of the newer edition (the one with the pink or purple cover) for about $3.50 plus shipping. (A few of the booksellers on Abebooks.com actually offer free shipping as well.)
That's the edition you should get.