Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet
Four hundred years ago, the literary genius William Shakespeare wrote The
Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, a world-renowned play that continues that capture the
imagination and emotions of people around the globe. The drama portrays the passionate,
violent and often desperate lives of the youth of Verona, Italy. Even today, the tragedy
resembles a blue-print of the problems that the adolescents of the twentieth century must
face each day.Parental influence, young love and the revenge code all have a direct and evident
effect on the lives of young people today. These issues continue to cause physical, mental
and emotional strain for many teenagers.
The ever-present influence of parents played a major part in The Tragedy of
Romeo and Juliet. The feud between the Capulets and the Montagues had been passed
down through the generations, until the youngest child had been planted with the seeds of
hate, malice and antipathy. From the beginning of the play, we learned that Capulet held
the decisive judgment of what Juliet?s future would have in store.

?But saying o?er what I have said before.
My child is yet a stranger in the world.
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years.
Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.? (I,ii,7-11)

The above quote clearly demonstrates Capulet?s intent of choosing Juliet?s
husband. Romeo and Juliet kept their relationship secret from the start, in fear that their
love affair would be scorned and rejected by their feuding families. It is my opinion, that
this subsequently led to the death of both lovers. Had they held a more open relationship, I
believe, eventually, both families would have accepted it. However, considering the
circumstances, the street brawl and the later death of kinsmen Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet
felt that their parents would not have been able to understand the love between the two
youths. In today?s society, youth are constantly advocating the change from total
dependence on family, to their own independence. Young people often think they know
better than their parents, often believing that instead of helping them, they are only
punishing them.
Young love is the often notorious, ever-changing emotion that enthralls
adolescents. When a boy sees a beautiful girl, with nice, blonde hair, and long, shapely
legs, he often thinks that he is in love. That is similar to the emotion Romeo experienced:

?To call hers, exquisite, in question more.
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies? brow,
Being black, puts us in mind they hide the fair.
He that is stricken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost.
Show me a mistress that is passing fair;
What doth her beauty serve but as a note
Where I may read who passed the passing fair?
Farewell. Thou canst not teach me to forget.? (I,i,238-246)

Here, Romeo is saying how much he loves Rosaline, and that he cannot forget about her.
However, a couple of scenes later, his love quickly changes:

?O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiop?s ear -
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows
As yonder lady o?er her follow shows.
The measure done, I?ll watch her place of stand
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight,
For I ne?er saw true beauty till this night.? (I,v,51-60)

How quickly does young love change. Juliet, a little more cautious than Romeo was,
refused to allow him to swear his love by the moon. ?O, swear not by the moon, th?
inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove
likewise valuable.? (II,ii,114-117) Young love can often by villainous in the minds of
young people. It distracts them from their tasks at school, they often cannot think clearly
during exams, and lose sleep during the night thinking about love. Romeo and Juliet found
it unbearable to be without each other, and, to a young couple, the feelings can be mutual
at times. Young love often ends up being ignorant, the result of desiring and yearning
hormones, instead of the passionate and true heart.

From the ancient vendettas of the old Sicilian families, to the modern grudges of the street
gangs of South Central Los Angeles, the revenge code is still a visible part of society.
Following the death of his best friend, Mercutio, Romeo is suddenly overcome with
emotions of anger and vengeance:

?Alive in triumph, and Mercution slain!
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury by my conduct now. -
Now, Tybalt, take the ?villain? back again
That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio?s soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him." (iii,i,127-134)

As stated in the hand-out, ?A stiff-necked code of honor makes the young men spring to
violent, bloody action.? Romeo later regrets slaying Tybalt, only moments after: ?O, I am
Fortune?s fool!? (iii,i,142) In modern day society, as in Romeo and Juliet, if ever a gang
member is killed, his death is almost immediately avenged. This is evident during the
blood-crip gang war in Los Angeles during the 1980?s and 1990?s. Over 100,000 deaths
were the result of this territorial war, where, resembling the pointless feud of the
Montagues and Capulets, youths were killed for wearing red or blue. Even now, in high
schools and secondary schools around the world, ?eye for an eye,? seems to be the
philosophy of choice. Although a lot of the honor has been lost of the centuries, the
revenge code still exists, where the deaths, beatings and imprisonment of fellow
compatriots, often bring swift and zealous vengeance.

Life in Verona seems to have seldom difference from today?s situation. Young people
seem to face the same problems, make the same difficult choices and confront the same
obstacles. Parental influence, young love and the revenge code still have an effect on us,
even after four hundred years, these problems are still present in the everyday lives of
today?s youth.

Romeo and Juliet 6.9 of 10 on the basis of 2531 Review.