What comes to mind when you hear the words “Romeo and Juliet?”
For some people, maybe the words “old and boring” come to mind.But for others, some may think of it as a “tragic love story”.Maybe you’ve heard about it before or have studied it in school but for those who have no clue what I’m talking about, Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two young lovers who fall deeply in love and do everything they can to be together.
One might imagine that the teachings of Shakespeare may not be relevant as he was alive 400 years ago. But If you put teens today into elegant dresses and tights, they could fit right into William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.Our world may have changed since then, but when it comes to people, it hasn’t changed much at all.So why should teenagers read Romeo and Juliet?
Well, there are many similarities between Romeo and Juliet and teens today.The first similarity between Romeo and Juliet and teenagers today is their recklessness. In the play, Romeo and Juliet get married after knowing each other for a day. Today, teenagers can still be impulsive and undertake risky stunts without thinking them through. Teens today also make rash decisions such as doing drugs or drinking alcohol.
A second similarity between Romeo and Juliet and teenagers today is their rebelliousness towards their parents. Romeo and Juliet defy their parents by conversing with the enemy. They also lie to their parents about where they are going. Teens today also defy their parents by sneaking out to a party or lying about where they are.Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most famous love story in the English literary tradition. So naturally, love is the play’s dominant and most important theme specifically the intense passion that springs up at first sight between Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo first meets Juliet, he tells her how beautiful she is, but he never talks about her personality. He loved with his eyes before he loved with his heart. The longer they know one another, the more they think that their crush has turned into passionate love between themselves. Most teenagers today can relate to this as some people get into relationship with another person just for looks.
Another similarity between the two is hate or revenge. Due to the ongoing feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, violence invades the play Romeo and Juliet. In Act 3 Scene 1, the Montagues and the Capulets start to fight due to the taunts of Mercutio. After Mercutio dies, Romeo kills Tybalt as the revenge. Teenagers can sometimes promote violence rather than peace to solve the conflict. They ignore the consequences, social rules and laws to fight in the public space.
A final similarity between the two is how there is the conflict between individual desires and social practice is a recurring theme in Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo and Juliet fall in love, their individual desire for each other places them in opposition with the society of which they’re both a part of. As Romeo and Juliet fall deeper and deeper in love, they come up against their friends, their families, and the political and religious authorities which govern the city of Verona. This can be somewhat similar to what teenagers go through today. A lot of adults judge teenagers as they believe teenagers are dumb and naive as they are young. But a lot of teenagers have raised their voice and stated their opinion on matters such as climate change, gay marriage and racism. Sometimes it's to the point where they oppose government leaders.After almost 400 years of change, modern-day teens have stayed almost identical to the teens of the Renaissance.While today’s society is burdened by stress, technology, and everyday pressure, Feelings of love, separation, and a wanting to belong are present in both teens of today and teens from hundreds of years ago.You might be thinking: Okay so maybe Romeo and Juliet is still relevant but I don’t want to read the old English because I can’t understand it. Well not to worry!
Although Romeo and Juliet was written for audiences hundreds of years ago. The play has been widely adapted for TV and film. Film and TV directors may do this to incorporate well-known themes into something relevant for younger audiences. Turning the story into one set in modern times makes it even more reliable for modern viewers.One Romeo and Juliet adaptation is Gnomeo & Juliet. In this Romeo and Juliet, Gnomeo and Juliet are garden gnomes from opposing backyards.What’s the highest-stakes way you could reimagine the Montagues versus the Capulets? By making them the Living and the Dead. This can be seen in the Film Warm BodiesThe 1961 film West Side Story—set among New York gangs—featured the Jets as white youths, while the Sharks, are Puerto Rican.In 2006, Disney's High School Musical made use of Romeo and Juliet's plot, placing the two young lovers in different high school cliques instead of feuding families.
In conclusion , 'Romeo and Juliet' is still relevant to today's literature, drama, films and even current events. Romeo & Juliet is a play that teenagers can relate to through the use of the themes throughout the play. These themes consist of love, hatred, conflict and fate.Teenagers should enjoy Romeo and Juliet due to the fact that it has the potential to relate to them. Although it is set in the past, it will always be adapted to make teenagers the primary target audience. Shakespeare's play can relate to teenagers, as they are the main people who go through this state of love, hate, and confusion.So maybe the next time a teenager is reading the story of Romeo and Juliet in their English class, hopefully they can pay attention as the main characters are just like them.