Passion in Literature: Mar. 6 (Personal Response to Romeo and Juliet)

In our current day, the mass perception of Romeo and Juliet is one that paints the two nobles as icons of perfect “true love.” Though the play may not have begun the mentality that to die for one’s partner is the ultimate expression of love, it certainly emulated this ideology (or, at least, is now regarded as emulating this ideology). Thus, with the growth in popularity of Romeo and Juliet also came the mass spreading of the “I would die for you” concept. In my eyes, the play much better suites the role of a cautionary tale than a poetic romance. Hence, throughout reading and watching the tragedy, I became more and more concerned that somehow these two figures, that to me are the quintessence of idiotic impulsiveness, turned into those that we now aspire to be in our relationships.

During the whole of the play, we see Romeo and Juliet interact less than ten times, and not once do they discuss anything of genuine importance. They quite literally know nothing about each others beliefs or views of the world, besides the fact that they love one another, which they proclaim all too often in the stead of anything that actually matters. Their love can only be based off of solely physical attraction, as neither one displays to the other any personality trait besides “in love.” Yet, still, they both choose to commit suicide when they see the other dead, as if it is better to die than to live without a person who they’ve known for only four days and haven’t learned anything about besides how attractive they look.

It is very worrisome to me that we would strive to mimic the “love” that Romeo and Juliet have, as I see their “love” as more of a shallow fancy. The excitement of that that is new was not given enough time to diminish before radical events occurred, and I believe that, combined with teenage impulse, is the reason Romeo and Juliet committed suicide for each other, not any kind of “true love.” I think that the message that people should’ve taken away from Romeo and Juliet is the best course of action is not always the most immediate one. Consistently throughout the play we see impulse driving people to do make the wrong choice without properly considering options first. For example, the second Juliet comes to tell Friar Lawrence of her marriage dilemma, he decisively puts into action a not at all though out plan, which, inevitably, ends in disaster.