The Impossibility to Live Without Love in Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is often referred to as “one of the greatest plays of all time.” This work of art can be used to teach many people the play’s many valuable lessons that are all-encompassing. Within the story, Romeo, a Montage, and Juliet, a Capulet, live in a world where their two families have an undying feud. Through it all, they still fall in love with each other which leads to further issues. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the character Romeo struggles to learn the lesson of “think before you act” exhibiting to the reader that it is a very important aspect in decision making.
Romeo is an average, naive 15 year old boy. A boy of that age is thought to act impulsively without thinking everything through. This is a mistake that Romeo makes quite often. It’s in his nature. He does what he wants, and overlooks all of the possible consequences. Romeo demonstrates this by marrying Juliet after meeting her at a party only a day before. No rational person decides to marry someone only a day after meeting them and claims that it’s love. Romeo decides that the only way to keep Juilet happy is to tell her that he would like to marry her. Romeo is asking the Friar to marry them, “I’ll tell tree as we pass, but this I pray, That thou consent to marry us to day” (Shakespeare 2.3. 67-68). When Romeo suggests the idea of marriage, Juilets face lights up and is filled with joy. Romeo’s “love” for Juliet is incorrigible. She agrees to his marriage proposal without even one second of hesitation. Because of this crucial part in the story, Romeo and Juilet’s lives are both put on the line, as neither of the children’s parents want the other to marry someone of “their” type. This ends up creating lots of conflict between the Montagues and Capulets. This very irrational and impulsive act ends up shaping the entire story. Romeo is in love with the idea of being in love and doesn’t want to live a life without love, the proposal to Juliet is out of fear. Romeo is also an average teenage boy, he wants to test the limits of what he can do and what he can get away with. Asking to marry someone who is a Capulet is a very risky move. It shows how he wants to test the limits and he is anxious to grow up and be able to do what he wants with “his love”. It’s almost like he wants to break free from chains. And the chains are his parents and the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets. Romeo doesn’t want anything to hold him back anymore, so he fights it and does so with an impulsive act.
In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo makes many rash decisions that take a toll on him later in the story. At one point in the play, Romeo’s friend Mercutio is trying to start a fight with Tyblat, a Capulet. Tyblat however does not want to fight Mercutio, he wants to fight Romeo. Nobody knows that Romeo has married Juliet and is simply trying to keep the peace. Romeo kept trying to diffuse the situation, but Tyblat ends up killing Mercutio. Romeo gets so angry and makes the quick and rash decision to kill Tyblat as revenge. Originally, Romeo was trying to make a responsible decision of nonviolence, but later on he makes a harsh, and murderous decision. He kills Tyblat. The characters did not respond well to this, especially the watchmen as well as the police. Benvolio, Romeo’s other friend, said later on, “Romeo, away, be gone! The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain. Stand not amazed. The Prince will doom thee death. If thou art taken. Hence, be gone, away” (Shakespeare 3.1.130-133). Benvolio convinces Romeo to run before he is sentenced to death, however he is sentenced with banishment instead. The Prince and the Capulet’s wife decide that Romeo is to be banished for the Capulet life he took. When Juliet finds out, she is angry at first, but is able to forgive Romeo. Even though Benvolio said “O noble Prince, I can discover all. The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl. There lies the man, slain by young Romeo, That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio” (Shakespeare 3.1.140-143). It did little good to help his case. It is always important to think things through, because it may not be clear in “the heat of the moment.” Those decisions can negatively affect an individual forever. Romeo’s slapdash decision was a catalyst for all the other problems that arose throughout the story.
In Act 5 scene 3,of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo finds Juliet “deceased” and in return, he makes the erratic decision to kill himself for the hope that he would be with Juliet in heaven. ‘O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die” (Shakespeare 5.3. 169-170). This quote shows an obvious idea of the severity of the situation and an idea that Romeo’s decision wasn’t throughout and purely a decision made on behalf of Juliet and his passion for her. Romeo kills himself at the tomb of Juliet with a flask of poison. Shakespeare could have killed Romeo off with a knife just as Juliet does in the next scene, but Shakespeare chooses the use of a small bottle of poison to symbolize the extent and how far he will go for Juliet. This experience is used to explain that idea and without it, the play wouldn’t nearly represent that idea as well. When people come to find Romeo as well as Juliet dead, they are shocked and dumbfounded by the careless acts. The idea that all surrounding people are shocked shows that “the limits of love” were almost irrelevant to Romeo and Juliet. This is so true, and they were so passionate for each other that they killed themselves in search of the other in heaven and beyond. When illustrating this beautiful scene on a piece of paper Shakespeare had every intention of having this scene, not only be gruesome but also be heartfelt. Most authors don’t have the capability to match those absolutely polar opposite themes together. But Shakespeare does. Shakespeare did this to insert an aspect of shock into the story, and show the idea of love over life, as well as think before you act. Shakespeare wrote this novel in search of developing a theme, just as every other author does. The underlying theme throughout the entire story is to think before you act, and Shakespeare clearly shows this through the intense characterization of Romeo in the scene of Romeo’s death. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the lesson “think before you act is apparent to the reader through the character Romeo. Romeo and Juliet exhibits a recurrent issue that was valid both when the play was written and today. Minors still make opaque, inattentive decisions because they are still developing. Even approximately 425 years later, twenty-first century individuals can connect to the concept of unreasonable, teen decision making.
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