Destined to be or not to Be Learnt
Shakespeare’s famous tragedy “Romeo And Juliet” offers a timeless value that demonstrates his reflection on human nature and behavior, writes JENNY SU.
Imagine not being able to express yourself through the 1700 words Shakespeare invented. The English language has developed throughout time, evolving many centuries impacted greatly by key events and figures such as William Shakespeare. Therefore it is essential that his literature be studied in order to influence a deeper understanding of the history of the language as well as extend a broader view of society.
The play “Romeo And Juliet” transcribed by Shakespeare follows the tragic romantic tale of star-crossed lovers fated to die together. The overall work of Shakespeare, specifically “Romeo and Juliet” is a valuable text to study in Queensland School due to its relevance it has to adolescents, mainly older teenagers, in high school. William Shakespeare’s characters, in particular Romeo and Tybalt, stand out and are relatable to teenagers. Through relatable and interesting characters, timeless themes, and clever use of aesthetic features, “Romeo and Juliet” is a valuable text to study in Queensland Schools.
Romeo the son of Montague is an impulsive protagonist who is young and passionate. Through his reckless and immature actions, Romeo has a deep capacity towards the idea of love which is relatable for teenagers. As Romeo is portrayed to be in love with Rosaline at the beginning of the play, his love for her was seen as “puppy love”. However, the moment Romeo laid his eyes on his “fated-lover” Juliet, he instantly forgets about Rosaline. Romeo’s infatuated love for Juliet is instant as he quotes, “Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (Act I Scene 5). As demonstrated in the quote, Romeo shows a quick change of mind by the time he meets Juliet he’s love for Rosaline fades. Adolescents can relate to this due to the fact they are still youthful and do not understand the concept of love. Through these loving moments the rebellious protagonist has with Juliet, Shakespeare reminds of us his passionate personality.
Another character teenagers can unquestionably relate to is Tybalt due to his manneristic yet passively aggressive personality. Representing the younger generation of the Capulet family, who is related to Juliet, he is viewed as the antagonist of the play. His vain yet manneristic personality is portrayed thoroughly from the beginning till the end. William Shakespeare initially positions him as well-mannered when Tybalt greets the Montagues “good e’en” as “gentlemen” (Act III Scene 1) politely. However, when Romeo enters, Tybalt’s hot-tempered personality is revealed as he challenges Romeo “I am for you” (Act III scene 1) due to the embarrassment he experienced from the Capulet’s party. Obviously, teenagers do not obtain this aggressive and violent behavior but it can be clearly related to teenagers as they become angry when embarrassed or their ego is hurt. Whilst this illustrates that Tybalt is well-mannered and polite, it is learned his obnoxious and villainous personality is exposed when publicly embarrassed
“Romeo and Juliet” playwright by William Shakespeare beautifully captured the theme of love. Naturally becoming one of the most important and dominant themes of the play, it emphasizes the passion between the two young lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Although they are still youthful, their reckless love for each other has driven them to make rash decisions. Accepting that their families are still in an ancient feud, Juliet decides to “Deny thy father and refuse thy name” (Act II, scene 2) Rose symbolizes love, with Juliet questioning “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose” (Act II scene 2). Teenagers can relate to this even if some haven’t experienced “love” yet, they choose to put aside their differences for the person to whom they are attracted. However, teenagers have experienced more hate than love in their lives as shown through Romeo and Juliet.
Furthermore, hate is one of the most negative yet essential themes in the play. One of the most obvious examples of this theme is the hatred tearing apart the Capulets and the Montague. Tybalt is one of the main characters who take the feud seriously when he informs Capulet, “…this is a Montague, our foe, a villain…” (Act I scene 5) Throughout the entirety of the play, there have been signs symbolizing hate. From the potions Friar Lawrence made to the poison that Romeo decided to consume, it is intentionally placed everywhere. Teenagers can easily relate to this theme as they have gone through this process numerous times in their youthful lives. Although, most of the time hate does not drive them to kill the people they hate it has caused teenagers to separate from people who use to be part of their lives. These themes definitely portray a moral that hate can cause relationships to fall apart.
Shakespeare has cleverly used numerous aesthetic features throughout the play of a tragic love story. In order to evoke an emotional response and position the audience, Shakespeare used oxymorons to release complex emotions. The purpose of these aesthetics facilitates the students’ appreciation of the English language as it forms imagination and an engaging text. Shakespeare uses numerous oxymorons such as when Romeo expresses his angst about hate, “O brawling love! O loving hate!” Through the use of oxymorons, teenagers can use this technique to form a new method of communicating ideas. Not only does Shakespeare uses oxymoron to engage the readers but also includes foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is another aesthetic feature that Shakespeare decided to incorporate into Romeo and Juliet. The tragic love story is foreshadowed throughout the entirety of the play in order to create suspense as well as an engaging storyline for teenagers. Both subtly and directly hint at the fate of Romeo and Juliet, it is obvious their loss of freedom is inevitable and delusional. Obviously, it is already learned in the prologue that the young lovers will sacrifice themselves for love… “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life… death bury their parent's strife… death-marked love” (Act 1 prologue). However, another inclusion of foreshadowing hinting at Romeo’s death, “Let me be taken, let me be put to death…” (Act 3 Scene 5) As Romeo leaves Juliet, he declares that he would much rather be put to death. The use of this aesthetic method is to engage teenagers in the play while adding dramatic tension.
The Shakespearean classic, Romeo and Juliet has been a significant piece that has been studied for centuries. Due to the impact, it had on society, it is believed it should definitely be read in Queensland schools with its significant characters, timeless themes, and engaging use of aesthetic features.