[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Romeo and Juliet – Not REALLY in Love? //A RANT + Discussion//

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 hormonesa 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.


ANDDD…RANT OVER!
*Phew*
I am sorry I just HAD to say it! So many adult fans out there who think they are somehow above the beautiful, if a bit naive, love story that Romeo and Juliet shared!

What about you though?
Do you think theirs wasn’t a real love?
What’s your stance?

LET’S TALKKK!!!


[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Inventor of Words, Writer of Tragedies, Master of Flattery – SHAKESPEARE

The man who gave us –

Hopeless lovers,
Stubborn shrews,
Witless men, and
Witches too.

YES! It’s BARD MONTH over here at THE WITHERING and you are all invited to celebrate it with me.

Shakespeare and I go way back because my love for him sprouted from a deep-rooted hatred!

I wasn’t all that little when my mum went to Penguin’s and got me a copy of King Lear – it was white, it was little, IT WAS DOWNRIGHT BORING. It seemed boring at least. I have been judging books by their cover since 2005 so, of course, I treated this little copy like a bad smell – avoiding it at all costs.


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I was already reading classics and that’s where my mother got the inspiration to introduce me to the sneaky Bard. But this time she had miscalculated. I hadn’t read a single play up until that point and I was very prejudiced about them.

For some reason, I had developed a strong belief that reading a play wouldn’t get me the kind of satisfaction that comes from reading a novel. BUT BOY WAS I ABOUT TO BE PROVED WRONG!

Mumma started getting strict with me about reading King Lear, and I don’t respond that well to pressure. So I defied, WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT. In response, she took away EVERY SINGLE OF MY BOOKS – except, of course, that rather ugly copy of King Lear.

You see, apart from playing out with friends in the evening and arguing with my brother all day long, I didn’t have much else to do. Summer holidays had already started so no school either.

In short, I was stuck – between reading something I despised or increasing argument time with my brother.

Naturally, I chose the former. The first few pages were – TORTURE, for want of a better word. I hated it – the old man and his three daughters. I HATED THEM. I HATED THEIR GUTS, I HATED EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING in that book. But that was about to change. As the play progressed, I found myself furrowing my eyebrows less and less.

How desperately had King Liar tried to be a FAMILY MAN and how pathetically had he failed!

It was a journey of mixed emotions – frustration prevailed, but so did anger (for his daughters), anticipation, hopelessness, and an unexpected burst of sadness when, in the end, King Lear dies of a broken heart.

Over the years, although I forgot the story a few scenes were still very clear in my memory like when Lear – stricken with the realization that none of his daughters want him – runs out of their house, wanders in the snowstorm – cold and all alone! I don’t know why but that scene – the way I pictured it back then – is still stuck in my mind and sends chills up my spine whenever I think of it.

My adoration for Shakespeare crept up on me stealthily and left me craving for more. I was genuinely surprised by how my views about his writing had changed – from aversion to love – all in a matter of a few pages.

I went on to read his sonnets, Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and THEN Romeo and Juliet. I was introduced to the rest when I started my Honors three years ago and honestly? It isn’t as much fun reading Shakespeare critically as it was back in school – because back then my ideas, my imagination wasn’t muddied by all those opinionated writers, analyzing his works to their hearts content.

BUT HEYYY! Hang on there, Rain! You are going to do the same as well so away with your bashing. *grins* Yep. That’s true! I will twist and turn his works and present them in a way that’s enjoyable to everyone – literary and non-literary folks alike. Sound good? Okay then.

Here’s to an awesome Bard Month and to start it off on a more collective note, why don’t you guys share your experiences with Shakespeare in the comments?
Your first sonnet? First play? Your favorite one?
I WANNA KNOW EVERYTHING! So, let’s chat!