Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”
This famous play has become iconic as a celebration of young lovers who reject their clueless parents and rush head-long into love for each other.
Shakespeare is certainly pointing out the folly of Juliet’s parents. They don’t know what she is thinking or feeling. But he is also showing the folly of the children. And they ARE children! Juliet’s father tells the suitor he likes that he should wait a couple years, since Juliet isn’t even 14 yet!
So the kids foolishly indulge a crush, while the parents think they can use raw parental power to get their daughter to do what they want, and the priest’s dangerous solution miscarries badly. Each of them indulge their natural flaws: the kids’ emotions run away with them, the parents don’t know their children and angrily try to force them, the church subverts the family instead of helping it.
The friar seemed closest to wisdom, though, in my estimation. At one point he tells Romeo,
“Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art:
Thy tears are womanish; they wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast.”
Romeo and Juliet shows the tragedy that comes when emotions are out of control. The emotion may be anger - Juliet’s father rages against his daughter until even his wife rebukes him. Or it may even be love, which is destructive if not kept in proper bounds.
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