William Shakespeare’s great tragedy Romeo and Juliet is a play which addresses
the ideas and dilemmas that have faced teenagers since it was written nearly 500
years ago. Three predicaments which are encountered in this play are teenage
suicide, rebelliousness, and love. Romeo and Juliet is the tale of two teenagers,
whose families are sworn enemies. Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love. Upon
realizing that the objects of their affections are their families sworn enemies, they
decide to marry, without parental knowledge or consent. When Juliet’s father
announces that she is to marry another man, she fakes her death so that she can
remain faithful to her husband Romeo, without admitting her disobedience to her
parents. Romeo had at this point been banished from Verona for murdering Juliet’s
cousin. He returns immediately after receiving news that his wife is dead. He
commits suicide so that he does not have to live without his wife and lover, Juliet.
Juliet awakes from her slumber to find Romeo dying beside her, and quickly plunges
his dagger through her own chest. In my opinion this is the story of two teenagers,
who like many teenagers today, do not think things through and rush into love and a
web of deceit.
Love is something which teenagers seem to always be searching for and
falling in and out of. In the play, Romeo has been urged by his friends to ‘crash’
Juliet’s families party so that he will get over Rosaline, whom he was pining over.
Basically, Romeo falls in love with Juliet on the rebound. This is Juliet’s first love,
and even today girls become slightly obsessed with their first loves. Juliet’s
obsession with Romeo is made evident not only in her soliloquy on the balcony, but
in her willingness to do anything to be with Romeo. In Juliet’s soliloquy, she
speaks of her love for Romeo, and her desire to be with him despite their families.
Romeo now infatuated with Juliet instead of Rosaline, is standing below her balcony
listening, and after hearing her words proposes marriage. Teenagers today do not
rush into marriage as quickly, but do rush into sexual relationships. This is proof
that teenagers in ‘love’ behave impulsively. Romeo and Juliet are evidently acting
impetuously, just as teenagers of today.
Romeo and Juliet are also doing what teenagers of today do best: rebelling.
Romeo and Juliet rebel against their families, the Montagues and Capulets,
discretely at first. Romeo never actually openly rebels. Juliet, on the other hand,
argues with her parents when confronted with her betrothal to Paris. She eventually
gives up the argument, and decides to further deceive her parents by faking her
death. Lying as well as arguing with parents is a form of rebellion. Romeo and
Juliet are aware when they wed that their families will eventually discover their
secret, just as teenagers today who secretly rebel know they will be found out.
Teenage suicide is another topic relevant to life today which is faced in the
play. Romeo and Juliet each commit suicide in the wake of the others death.
Romeo kills himself with poison, believing that Juliet has passed away, although she
is only in a deep slumber. Juliet, when she awakes, finds Romeo dying beside her
and attempts to drink the rest of his poison, but he has left none for her. Therefore,
Juliet takes his dagger and runs it through her chest. This is what we call today a
double suicide. Double suicides have become more reoccurent in recent years in
todays society. Double suicides are usually committed by young lovers, just as in
Romeo and Juliet.
In my opinion, this book should be read by all teenagers in the freshman year
of high school. It is a tragedy which shows exactly what teenagers should not do. I
believe it is better than other books because it discusses three topics pertinent to life
today.