Imagine living in a world where marriage is determined by your status and not love, well in this case in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. It is referred to as the greatest love story of all time. Written in 1597, being one of the most easily recognizable pieces of literature in the world. Read this text with the “Read Response” critical lens. Reading the text through this lens allows readers to picture things from their perspective or point of view. Romeo and Juliet is still applicable to a modern audience because of the topics and themes portrayed, a main one being love. Although some may say that William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy Romeo and Juliet is too complex and not relatable to a modern audience, there are still many relevant themes in the play with many entertaining and relatable characters, along with many entertaining and relatable characters, along with complex and entertaining plots.
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet can connect to the characters in a variety of ways. For example, Juliet was telling Romeo that they could refuse to have their family’s names so they could be together. This quote, “O Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name! Or if thou wilt not but be sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet. ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself though not a Montague,” . Juliet was asking where Romeo was and telling him that she would deny her father and no longer be a Capulet so they could be together. She explained that Capulet was her name but also her enemy because it was what was keeping them apart. Modern audiences could possibly connect with Romeo and Juliet in this situation. For example, if two families disliked each other very much and had an ongoing feud, that could keep two people from being together. Another example is when Romeo and Juliet had just met for the first time. This quotation, “Romeo if I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this, my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready to stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss, . Juliet how she was ready to kiss Romeo from the moment she first met him. Modern audiences could possibly relate to the feeling of love at first sight like Romeo and Juliet had. Modern audiences could possibly connect to the characters Romeo and Juliet in many ways. But what other ways audiences can connect to this play?
Romeo and Juliet is based strongly on the theme of love. Love is a thing that has been around since the beginning of time and is something that appeals across all genders, classes, and generations. For example, Juliet says this after mourning the death of Romeo, “Which way? Yeah, noise? Then I’ll be brief. Oh, happy dagger! (snatches Romeo’s dagger) This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die. (She stabs herself and dies) . After Romeo kills himself, Juliet decides to kill herself as well, because she didn’t want to live if she couldn’t have Romeo. This shows just how far people will go for love, even as far as killing themselves when they can’t be together. This next quotation is from a scene very similar to the previous one, “What’s here? A cup, closed in my true love’s hand? Poison, I see hath been his timeless end O churl! Drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I will kiss thy lips, Haply some poison yet doth hang on them to make me die with a restorative,” . In this, Juliet had just found Romeo dead from drinking the poison he used to kill himself because he thought she was dead. Unfortunately, there have been cases like this in modern times where teens have killed themselves for love. Love has been around forever and is a very relatable topic in this story. But, are there also some ways that it is not relatable?
There are many relatable topics and themes in this story. But, there are also some topics and themes that are too complex or don’t relate to a modern audience. For example, this quotation, “What art thou drawn among these heartless hiends? Turn thee, Benvolio I look upon thy death. But I do keep peace, put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me. What, drawn talk of peace? I hate that word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee,”. In this quote, Tybalt talks about how much he hates the Montagues, and then he challenged them to a sword fight. Although this is a very good quote and a good addition to the story, it does not relate to a modern audience. This does not relate to a modern audience because people do not sword fight or dual like they did back then. In another quotation, Lady Capulet tells Juliet that she will be marrying Paris, “Marry my child, early next Thursday morn the Galant, young, and noble gentlemen. The country Paris at Saint Peter’s church shall happily make thee there a joyful bride,” . This is a very outdated quotation since arranged marriages aren’t as common anymore, therefore it is not very relatable to a modern audience. As you can see, Romeo and Juliet had many relatable topics and themes to a modern audience, but it also had some that were questionable or too outdated to be relatable to a modern audience.
Romeo and Juliet is still applicable to a modern audience because of some of the themes and topics portrayed. But, there are also some topics and themes that are too outdated and complex for a modern audience. The play is applicable to a modern audience because of the connection people can make to Romeo and Juliet and the theme of love, which is applicable to all genders, races, and generations. Using the information you learned from this story can help you to better understand and apply these themes in the real world. Using the reading response lens, you can apply it to other works of literature to better understand it.