Where is the Love?: Why Romeo and Juliet is NOT a Love Story

The “star-crossed lovers” that were Juliet and her Romeo in William Shakespeare’s most celebrated work never encapsulated true love. Upon all themes, tragedy prevails but in my opinion, there is an abundance of idiocy. Time and time again, the messenger, Friar John, takes blame for his incompetence in failing to deliver the crucial message to its recipient, which led to Romeo’s unnecessarily slaying the innocent Count Paris and poisoning himself to death. The untimely events should not impose blame on anyone except the rash decisions brought about by young love fostered in such a short period.

Having recently re-watched the 2013 remake of the literary classic opened my eyes to the shallowness of the plot. Veraciously I cannot tell all the facts, having not read the book (our high school reading list no longer included Romeo and Juliet, but has long been replaced with Merchant of Venice). Although, from what I’ve seen and the several synopses I have read, the love was not as pure as declared.

The ingrate, Juliet, so willingly left her parents after they wished for her to marry the count as soon as possible. Fleeing was one thing, but faking her death to escape the perilous match seemed a bit much. Eloping with her banished husband would have made a better statement of love than by deceptively pretending to die, causing her parents grief. Disownment is far more forgiving than death. She clearly had parent issues.

After his arrival at the Capulet tomb and the death of Count Paris, Romeo proceeds to kill himself through poison, seeing his love has passed away. If Romeo knew what love really was, he would have kept his life knowing that Juliet would have wanted him to live. But no, he felt a life without Juliet physically by his side was not worth living. True love transcends the human body so that the love stays with you even if your lover is no longer around. Romeo, daft as he was, did not take time to reflect on that during his exile. After dying, Juliet awakens and follows suit in her departed husband’s reckless and foolish decision to take his own life. Even Romeo’s mother kills herself after learning of his banishment. Did their own lives mean nothing else to them? They had no right taking a human life, even if it is their own.

The only consolation is the peace between the two families that good Friar Laurence aimed to achieve in the first place. I highly imagine, though, that they could have accomplished this goal without the six major casualties caused by one unthought-of and irrational “forbidden love”. One thing for sure is that youngsters should not take love cues from this Shakespeare tragedy.

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