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Ideas on the Themes of Love in Romeo and Juliet

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The classic is something that can’t truly be defined. Is it something that people remember? Is it something that’s influential? Is it both? Is it neither? Do people even have to like it? The classic is something that can be a matter of opinion. What I can consider a classic is something that someone else might disagree with. Yet, there is certain works of art that everyone considers a classic, regardless of previous knowledge of that subject. Certain pieces, like Homer’s The Odyssey or the 1920’s movie Gone with the Wind, are well known enough to be considered a classic or have actual evidence supporting why it should be called a “classic.”
But there are ways in which the classic is still shown to have an impact in modern society. An example is when a new writer comes out with a debut book, he/she will almost always be compared to an older writer. Maybe he will be “the next Shakespeare” or that songwriter has the “skills that can bring about the elegant stylings of Bach.” Older, more “classical” figures will always be considered a standard that others have to aspire to reach. It’s a way to show how people define something as a classic.
One such “classic” is Shakespeare’s famous love story, Romeo and Juliet. Known as one of the best love stories of all time, it is a story about two “star-crossed lovers” whose fate was that they were never truly meant to be. But it doesn’t mean they couldn’t try. Many love stories written are compared to Romeo and Juliet, usually being told they aren’t as well written as this play. Known also for its beautiful writing, this play is one of Shakespeare’s most well-received plays, and is still put on often, whether it’s a school play or by professionals. Still, it also is one of those rare “classics” that have an indirect connection to modern life.
People will occasionally post a status on Facebook or Twitter saying, “I want a romance like Romeo and Juliet.” Or someone will say to their friend in a relationship something involving a Romeo and Juliet reference. They are a lot more common than people think. For some reason, people love to compare relationships to Romeo and Juliet. And that is where the problem starts.
Romeo and Juliet has become a water-downed idea. People hear about it and immediately assume they know what happens in it. When they read it, they think they have a strong grasp on what is actually happening. And perhaps, maybe they do. But there is also a lot of conflicting ideas on what is thought up and what actually happens. The great thing about books is that because there is no picture in front of the reader, so it is up to them to decide what the scenery looks like and how the scenarios played out in the story look like. But the story has several major flaws that if were put forth today, would be considered very wrong in society.
Let’s start with the basics. Romeo is around the age of 20. Ok, that’s not so bad. Juliet is younger. Younger? Like 18? Nope, she’s 14. A 20 year old is madly in love with a 14 year old girl. In today’s society, that’s already pedophilia. And in the story, they have sex. Statutory rape is now another issue. And while we’re on the issue of illegal topics, several people die, including Romeo and Juliet at the end. So now there is murder and suicide. And this all happens in the span of 3 days, one of the more forgotten facts on the play. Apparently, Romeo and Juliet loved each other so much after only knowing each other for 3 days that they decided to commit suicide when they thought the other one was dead. That’s just wrong. I don’t think anybody is insane enough to want to kill themselves after knowing somebody for the span of a whole 3 days. So while people think of Romeo and Juliet as a dramatic love story, I like to imagine it as an action crime thriller.
Cotzee once asked, “What does it mean in living terms to say that the classic is what survives? How does such a conception of the classic manifest in people’s lives?” Romeo and Juliet is one of those classics that definitely have manifested itself in my life twice. One time was in 11th grade. Like so many other high school students at the time. I had to read a play by Shakespeare. Freshman year was Julius Caesar. Sophmore year was Macbeth. Both plays were ones that I had very previous knowledge on. But then came Junior year and the “classic” known as Romeo and Juliet. Immeditely, I saw it for what it truly is, a horribly illegal story. I ended up disagreeing with everything my teacher told us when we analyzed the play. Needless to say, I didn’t get the best grade that quarter because the tests on it were all analysis and apparently, I was wrong. But that didn’t deter me from my thoughts.
The second time was over the recent summer. I had an ex-girlfriend say, “We have a Romeo and Juliet romance.”

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