The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet
Often the story of Romeo and Juliet is considered an epic romance. This is not necessarily so. A closer analysis of the characters and their motives might give a more balanced view of the plot. This essay will go through the different elements of the story that show it to be a tragedy rather than a romance.
He was nineteen years old and she was approximately fourteen years old. They decided that they could not live without each other days after meeting and made plans to elope with the help of some well meaning adults. While the culture of Italy in that century was quite different and by those standards, Juliet was a grown woman, her actions were definitely those of a child. Romeo may have just barely been an adult by the standards of our time but he was similarly childish to decide that he should marry her so soon after meeting her. This is proven by the events that would follow.
In the days after meeting and marrying her, Romeo manages to accidentally kill Juliet’s cousin making any attempt at overcoming their families' rivalry and wooing her in public futile. Most would read this event as an accident but how many accidents can a person bumble into before it can be stated that they exercise poor judgment in general? Predictably, this incident sends both teenagers spiraling into a depression. This is further compounded by Juliet’s parents’ attempts to have her married off to a gentleman that they find more suitable for her. While she may not have been in love with this man, perhaps her fate would have been better in that circumstance.
With the help of a man of the cloth, Romeo and Juliet attempt to devise a means of escaping the city together. Due to their lack of communication, he believes she is dead and kills himself at her grave and when she wakes up from her fake death to see his corpse she kills herself and then when their bodies are found together the city mourns. With better planning and perhaps more competent adult supervision, none of this needed to take place and they might have found a way to be together that did not leave so many people dead.
There may be many for whom the concept of star crossed lovers still seems most valid in the plot. They should take note that this play is a cautionary tale.