"For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo." Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story. Whose tragedy is it?
Many people see Romeo and Juliet as a tragic love story. Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet to show the world he lives in that love can empower and change. The death of the young couple is tragic but their death enriches and touches the lives of those who survive the violence unleashed into the society by the bitterness and vengeful circumstances surrounding them. Because of this, the love story is triumphant and not tragic. It turns the tragedy into one of gain, not lost. Why you think their love is not tragic? Why is their love story not a tragic love story? Shakespeare depicts love that can empower one to challenge the convention and the tradition in the world in which they live. In the patriarchal society, it is unthinkable for the daughter to defy her parents. Juliet goes against all social restraints when she contradicted her parents with, “I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo.” Even her father’s outburst of rage in “young baggage, disobedient wretch!” did not change her plans. And in the world where names mean more than just a way to address oneself, she advises Romeo to "Deny thy father and refuse thy name… And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’’ Young Juliet experiences love that gives her courage to challenge all that is expected of a young unmarried lady of noble background. Therefore her love liberates her from the bondage of the social mores of the time. Shakespeare also draws our attention to the kind of love that empowers one to break from the bondage of peer influence and give courage in decision making in extreme circumstance. Romeo becomes a better man. He loses interest in the nonsensical banter with his cousin, Mercutio, as he gives in to the overwhelming passion and intensity of his love for Juliet. Mercutio notices the change and has to double check with Romeo with "now art thou...
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