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The Fight to Eliminate Romeo and Juliet in High Schools

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I was sitting in English class, listening as Mr.Long dragged on and on about the never-ending play of Romeo and Juliet. I would rather stub my toe over and over then listen to the numerous douths and thous sprinkled throughout this play. In today’s world, Romeo and Juliet is irrelevant and unrelatable to our teen demographic. While others may enjoy the adult relations in the play, teens are not fit for the inappropriate and insulting remarks. However, his words may broaden our English language and could possibly change the way we think. This is irrelevant because Romeo and Juliet is far too difficult to understand and comprehend even on an educational level. Shakespears Romeo and Juliet is an over taught play that must be put to rest in schools.

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Play writer and performer William Shakespear was a brilliant creator of words and speech, but this decade is not fit for his famous Romeo and Juliet. Shakespear passed over 400 years ago, times were different, people have changed. As Debate.org informs, “The theme of the storyline is completely irrelevant in life today and the language hasn ́t been spoken since the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s at least”. This quote perfectly explains the fact that our lives are not closely or remotely related to this play, especially in our teen years. Adding to this, the theme is not teaching certain morals or values that teens relate to. WordPress.com explicitly states, “Shakespears language puts us off, his stories are not relevant, there are no relevant morals and things have changed since he wrote these. This illustrates that in today’s world, the sappy love story is no longer relevant or relatable. Today’s plays and other Shakespeare works could give more depth to our school ́s curriculum in the long run. The Washington Post says, “There are many other works of literature from different cultures that speak to the human condition as well as or better than Shakespeare that would be more engaging to students”. As Strauss suggests, there are many different, unique plays or poems that can further teach students in a beneficial way. Not only is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet irrelevant today, but is too innoporpriate for our young pre-teen and teen age demographic to understand.

Next, the old English is extremely difficult to understand even after being explained, why would his plays be fit for our young demographic? The New York Times argues, “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has decided that Shakespeare’s language is too difficult for today’s audiences to understand”. As students struggle to stumble through the many pages of Romeo and Juliet, is it really worth it? With only one year, or two semesters to work, Romeo and Juliet takes far too much time to decipher. WordPress understands this and states, “The audience is distracted throughout the entire play by looking up words and trying to comprehend or understand quotes which make it difficult to read”. As illustrated, the act of looking up each word or getting each line explained to the students in class is just a waist of time. Shakespear wasn’t meant for everyday understanding and shouldn’t be. Declared by The Guardian, “Most of Shakespeare’s audiences were illiterate. His words were chosen to be spoken or heard, not to be read and deadened behind a desk”. This proves the point that not only was shakespear not understood back then but should not be taught today. As shown, Romeo and Juliet is much too confusing for young teen age students to be comprehending right now.

On the other hand, the English language is extensive, especially thanks to Shakespear. The many words and ideas created and studied by Shakespeare have changed the way the world thinks. Explained by Global Student Network, “He changed nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devised completely new words”. While this argument is proficient, students no longer need to study and read Shakespears Romeo and Juliet to appreciate the many advances he had on the English language. Debatewise.org clarifies, “His command of language provokes our imaginations and inspires our own written expressions”. However, there are many other peices of literature that can have the same affects, not only Romeo and Juliet were provoking of our imaginations. Human nature study and comprehending other people’s thoughts were greatly captured in Romeo and Juliet. Evolution institute continues to prove in this statement, “Shakespeare captures fundamental concepts about the way our minds work that have since been demonstrated by psychologists”. While Shakespear may of captured human nature in a unique way, we now have psycological studies that make these plays unnecesary. The claim that Romeo and Juliet is an advancement in our world is far drawn.

Next, the inappropriate innuendos and hints may be too much for younger audiences. The underlying language and quotes can be far too graphic for 14-15 year old students. On the site, Debatwise.org states that, “In many of Shakespeare’s comedies it refers to sexual references and terminology that could be harmful to the young minds”. Continuing on, the language may be fit for adults or even more mature teenagers but the 9th grade students are much too young for this language. Children may feel uncomfortable learning about these subjects in a school setting. Debate.org informs, “Many adults will find Shakespeare interesting and original but a younger student may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation”. The embarrassment that could result from the reading of Shakespeare could be immense to certain students. Language and references may be confusing, making Romeo and Juliet even more difficult to comprehend. Conservpedia.com informs, “Take Juliet’s line: O happy dagger! This is thy sheath. There rust, and let me die. The dagger/sheath metaphor is glaring. Not only that, but it sexualizes death in a rather disturbing way”. Understanding this line in both a metaphorical and literal way would be undeniably difficult to understand at this young age. Inappropriate writing can be the downfall of the old english play, but could this actually broaden our english language?

In conclusion, Shakespears Romeo and Juliet is no longer needed in today’s society and is especially not wanted in the classroom. The relevancy of the love story is no longer understandable or reputable. Innapropriate hidden meanings around every corner and overall embarrasment when reading in front of students may change your mind about teaching this in the classroom. On the contrary, expanding our english language may be one of the perks to studying shakespear and this love story. Nevertheless, his words are far too strenuous to read and take in. In the future Romeo and Juliet will be a plesure read rather than a forceful classroom study guide to poetry and play writing.    

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