In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is my favourite character. At first, I disliked his vulgarity, but I happened to adore the complexity within him. Everyone needs a friend like Mercutio in their life, but Mercutio suffers more than anyone could imagine. Rarely could anyone reach into the heart of a person like him. The closest attempt made was a scene where he talks to Romeo before going to the Capulet’s party, and the film portrays a close-up view of the two men. The light is dim, and the tranquillity of the scene is very touching. In one of the moments where Mercutio is serious, I thought I caught a glimpse of his inner-self. Contrasting to his witty and annoying guise, he might longe for harmony, considering how he is caught in between of the two noble families. My favourite scene is when Mercutio dies. The camera films Mercutio from below, and he covers his wound in his hands under the beaming sun. Then, he collapses. The crowd of men lifts his hand in horror to discover the fatal injury and quickly drops his hand back. Mercutio plays a role that eventually cost his life. I might cry for him if I watched the play alone.
The main characters, Romeo and Juliet, are the only ones who succeeded in becoming themselves in this play. The other characters’ actions revolve around them and can’t seem to do what they want. Although it may appear like the lovers have the most restrictions, they break through all of them with youth’s passion. I admire Romeo and Juliet. In my culture, people value dying with dignity for a good reason. Their seemingly irrational decisions are respectful and meaningful to me.
This play changed my understanding of love. While reading the script, I felt that they weren’t really in love with each other, but instead, they are in love with the concept of love itself. Their attractive appearances, dramatic first-sight encounter, and the obstacles that set them apart act as triggers that lead them to live a romantic, almost unrealistic life.
My life isn’t romantic. Being in a romantic relationship does not guarantee that it is romantic at all. It is tough to love someone and earn love’s mercy at the same time. Once we are spared from love and confronts our real partners, suddenly, it takes all the effort in the world to love them. If, by chance, that they happen to be in love with each other truly, then they will either stop soon or develop a reliance on the partner, which is not romantic and rather pitiful. I wouldn’t say I like having conversations with my partner. It is only romantic when I think about her.
Love has nothing to do with reality, or anything physical. In the play, Romeo and Juliet spend a night together and have sex. We can call this an act of love, but it has nothing to do with the quintessence of love. Sex is an act of contamination. It is a type of passion, which is romantic but cannot be defined by love.
Love is not limited to romantic relationships. An example would be parental love, but we don’t see much of its display in Romeo and Juliet. Familial love is realistic and, therefore, less romantic, but I believe it is the most solid relationship established under love’s name. Interestingly, Juliet is independent of paternal love. Although she is somewhat betrayed by it several times, she can withdraw from it with little struggle. This withdrawal could be due to her mother’s distantness and the nurse’s inferior identity as a servant. It is also because of her engagement to Romeo, a replacement for the love of her family. Therefore, running off with Romeo becomes an easy decision. While paternal love is one-sided and can rarely be balanced, romantic love should always be equal.
Other than love, the play also includes blind hatred between the two houses. We never know why they fought, but the play would be less interesting if Shakespear gave us the answer. There is no identified antagonist in the story, but I think hatred is qualified enough to take the role. It is an essential element that highlights love and makes the story even more romantic. It is also why the story is tragic, but I think the story of Romeo and Juliet will always be sad, even without alternatives to the plot. If Juliet obeys her father and marries Paris, she will endure the fate of becoming just like her mother. Romeo will eventually stop searching for his love. They will lose their youth, wealth and passion regardless of what happens. Romeo and Juliet is a successful tragic love story. It would be less successful if it were happy love story.