It seems to me that the most common notion around Romeo and Juliet is that they were not REALLY in love; that it was just a result of their raging hormones – a pure infatuation.
I have to ask, what love is NOT based on a mutual desire to be with each other? IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE?! It seems to me that this is said purely for argument’s sake. ”They were NOT in love” makes you sound a bit cooler maybe? MORE ADULT? More in control of what you call ”foolish urges”?
Love is subjective – it can mean different things to different people. And you need to take into account the setting, the nature of the medium through which Romeo and Juliet’s love is portrayed and ,of course, their age. Don’t tell me that you never knew any couple in your teenage years whose romance – although started as soppy and rather cringey – later blossomed into a complete and mature love?
Passion is the same at any age. And if the argument is based on the fact that they seemingly fell in love at first sight, well DID YOU REALLY EXPECT SHAKESPEARE TO WASTE SCENES UPON SCENES ON COURTING? Would that have satisfied you? And more importantly, would that have made for an interesting read, do you think? A play is a play for a reason – it skips over the parts that would normally happen in a novel, for a very obvious reason – NOBODY wants to watch those normal and rather boring tidbits happening on a stage. WE JUST WANT THE GOOD PARTS. And that’s precisely why most of Shakespeare’s couples seem to fall in love so soon – sometimes within a matter of hours. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEIR LOVE ANY LESS REAL.
Another point that ”mature” readers seem to make is that most of the decisions that Romeo and Juliet make throughout the play are childish. WELL, OF COURSE THEY ARE CHILDISH! Juliet is 13 for God’s sake. And Romeo is still just a teenager as well – DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT EVERY SINGLE PRO AND CON OF EVERY SINGLE DECISION? I don’t.
And anyway, it’s not a childish play. It’s a play ABOUT childishness. It’s a play about a pure notion that a passionate love can surpass anything – even hatred. And it DOES. The families are left wrecked with guilt in the end. Tell me, wasn’t their hatred a bit childish as well? Didn’t they take it too far, way too far?! There was absolutely NO NEED – NO NEED whatsoever – for the family feud to continue. And yet it did. Their hate stemmed from reasons lost to time. WASN’T THAT CHILDISH AS WELL?
Romeo and Juliet’s love was pure, passionate, and naive – and it could have been SO MUCH MORE. That’s what makes their story even more tragic – two lovers with a rather happy life ahead of them doomed to die. WHY? Because their families couldn’t put aside their stupid hatred.
In the end, if anyone was REALLY childish – it was R+J’s parents because THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ADULTS! Their children’s actions are justifiable but their own? NOT A CHANCE.
For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.