Top Ten Reasons Why Romeo and Juliet is Unromantic

Hi, Sorry I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a while. But sometimes life gets busy, I get lazy, I get writers block and sometimes all three. 

Anyway here is another random musing from me. It’s a Shakespeare one. 

Top Ten Reasons why Romeo and Juliet is the least romantic play ever.

10) Remember Rosaline? Romeo doesn’t even though he claims to love her at the beginning of the play. Romeo Falls in and out of love too easily. Would he really know true love if cupid hit him in the rear?

9) In Act III Scene V After he is banished Romeo abandons Juliet. I don’t think that qualifies as loves. Take her with you stupid. Seriously he finds plenty of time to sneak into her bedroom to consummate his marriage but he doesn’t even think to take his wife with him into exile?

8) Just like today people under a certain age needed parental consent. Juliet’s Father would have been legally allowed to annul the Marriage, though Juliet’s virtue would be compromised and she would have at best ended up in a convent.

7) A Secret Marriage means nothing if no one knows about it. Seriously, Juliet, if your Father doesn’t know you’re married then how can he know that he is causing you to sin? Yes I am sure she is trying keep her Father from annulling the marriage, but can you see how their getting married really didn’t solve anything?

6) What do a 14 and 13-year-old know about true love? They really were that young their ages are given in the play. Putting the character’s ages right out in the open like that makes you rethink the whole Marriage/Suicide thing huh?

5) Can you picture them with kids? Well can you? (See Blog Post)

4) Paris really did love Juliet. Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe her parents knew what they were doing? This guy fought Rome to protect the body of someone who he probably believed killed herself to avoid marrying him. That has to be love.  At least more love than Romeo ever showed for her.

3) In what way is biting your thumb an insult? Is this some Elizabethan version of flipping the bird? (see Act I Scene I)

2) Romeo and Juliet went to Hell. I am sorry but according to the Roman Catholic beliefs they would have had as Italians: People who kill themselves go to Hell. Why is Juliet worried about the Sin of having two husbands but not about the sin of suicide? What about the sin of lying to your parents for that matter?

And the number one reason why R & J is unromantic is because of the lack of a SPOILER ALERT before the Prologue. The prologue to the play gives away the whole ending. Why Mr. Shakespeare Why? Don’t you believe in surprises at all?

Don’t believe me read the play here:

What if Romeo & Juliet had lived?

So everyone seems to think that the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is so sad but really what kind of future could they have had together? This week I ask the question: What if Romeo and Juliet had lived? This is just a little bit of fun. I don’t mean to actually rewrite Shakespeare but seriously: Can you picture them with kids?

 Romeo what a hypocrite he has become. Let’s see how the once great lover handles young love when the shoe is on the other foot.

Romeo with sword in hand, “Stay away from my daughter you prepubescent villain.”

“But father I love him,” pleads his little girl, “you and mother were younger still than us when you snuck away to Friar Laurence’s hidden bower and wedded at a secret hour.”

“It matters not,” Her uncaring father shouts, “I’ll shan’t have this scoundrel within my house.”

His daughter Portia begs and pleads but watches helpless as her lover bleeds.

While Romeo breaks his daughter’s heart his wife is dealing with her own problems.

“Tybalt please come back from there. I’ve told you a hundred times if I’ve told you once to not play on the balcony. If you fall from there you’ll break your neck and be as dead as your namesake, my poor cousin.”

And what of the warring in-laws? Have they made peace? Or is peace only found in tragic death?

“I’ll have none of this Grandfather,” Lord Capulet tells Tybalt’s twin Metrucio. “I’ll not share a term of endearment with that Montague scum. Call me Ompa if you must but never address me as equal to your father’s sire.”

The little boy runs off and alerts his brother to Lord Capulet’s desires.

Meanwhile, Lady Montague is having quite the chat with her generational counter part.

“Really they were quite the match. I will never know how it all went so wrong.” Lady Capulet bemoans. “Paris would have provided everything; Money, Power, A place in court. I will never understand that girls logic.”

“Yes you’re right it is quite tragic. For my Romeo I could have gotten a Danish lady if only the wench hadn’t drowned herself.”

“Oh Lord what fools our children be!” Exclaims lady Capulet to heaven.

“Indeed quite right. Have you heard how they fight?”

“It’s true of course the passion faded long ago. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Friar Laurence hadn’t had a change of heart and alerted the Prince of his secret doings.”

“Oh that I know right enough. Our children would be dead because our husbands would have killed them. Or the children would have killed themselves.”

“No not my Juliet. She is too pious and has such fear of Hell that she would never deign to take her own life.”


Shakespeare’s Crossover

Some of you may know that I have written and presented papers at the 2009 and 2010 Ohio Vally Shakespeare Conferences.

Both of these papers were based on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew.  The 2009 paper was about screen adaptations of the play and the 2010 paper was focused on the mysterious “Induction” that is the introduction that actually has nothing to do with the main play which is really a play within the Induction. If you don’t follow my meaning please read the play.

Anyway while reading Romeo and Juliet I found an interesting line. It just wasn’t interesting enough to devote a paper to,  so now you get to read about  it in my Blog. 

In Romeo and Juliet at the end of the ball scene Juliet is asking her nurse the names of many young men in order to learn Romeo’s identity.

Juliet: What’s he that now is going out of door?

Nurse: Marry, that, I think, be young Petruccio. (1.5 127-128)

In case you aren’t familiar with  The Taming of the Shrew the main characters are named Katherine and Petruccio. The plot doth thicken for Romeo and Juliet  takes place in Verona, Italy. It just so happens that Petruccio is also from Verona. His entrance line in The Taming of the Shrew is “Verona, for a while I take my leave.(Shrew 1.2 1)” Thus saying that he lives in Verona but has left there for a temporary visit elsewhere.

That elsewhere is Padua, Italy where The Taming of the Shrew is set.

I am not the first one to make this connection, though, the 2006 YA novel Romeo’s Ex by: Lisa Fiedler included a young Petruccio as minor character in the story of Romeo and Juliet’s demise.

I suppose that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like I can actually prove that Shakespeare meant for it be recognized as the same character. Though I do like to think that it was a special treat that he slipped in for his faithful play goers. On the other hand Petruccio is not the only name that Shakespeare recycled but I would never claim that the Katherine in Henry the VIIIth is the same one as in Shrew. 

I guess it’s up to people with higher degrees than mine to argue about it.

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