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- November 5, 2012 by CourtneyRenee95
- Romantic Tragedy vs. Satire
During my freshman year in high school, my English class did a section on Shakespeare. Surprise, surprise: we read the play, Romeo and Juliet. Everyone, including the teacher, described their feelings about the play as a sad sacrifice for love and as a tragedy. I did not agree. What’s worse were the girls that thought the whole thing was romantic… I’ve never been able to convince myself of the same.
Romeo and Juliet will always remain absurd and satirical in my mind. To put it simply, the definition of satire is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity”. Shakespeare was a witty, ironic and sarcastic bastard (hence my love of him). I don’t know that he really intended Romeo and Juliet to become the icon of true and fated love. To me, it’s more of a satire based on bad parenting and young lust.
If you’ve read the play, you’d know that Romeo and Juliet’s parents were self-absorbed people of wealth that were feuding over a something that had happened in previous generations. They didn’t listen to what their kids were telling them and they didn’t pay attention to what their kids were doing. They just expected that because they said, “No. You will not see that boy/girl or go to that party/place and do that thing” that their kids would obey them and not question them. In short, they were poor parents that were asking for their kids to do something rebellious and stupid.
Then we have the making fun of the young love. To start, Romeo and Juliet “fell in love” in about a week. Romeo, you would find if you read the play, basically used Juliet as a rebound from his last “love”, Rosaline. Juliet, herself, was a fourteen year old girl that was overly controlled by immature and selfish parental units that had decreed she shall marry some older man that she didn’t want to marry, so when some young, charming guy came knocking at her balcony, she threw herself at him and vowed her eternal devotion to him.
For me, Shakespeare’s play ridded all romance from itself when he had Juliet put her morals on the line by so easily forgiving a murderer. Romeo killed Juliet’s cousin, clearly knowing that it would take their family feud to all new heights. Juliet still reasoned with him though, not unlike battered woman syndrome (a.k.a. Stockholm syndrome). Killing one of your girlfriend’s family members is not okay, even in the name of love.
Now, we have the satire of the church. A Father, who is supposed to give the young and foolish lovers sound advice and guidance, instead aided them in their plan to lie to and dishonor their parents and run off together to be poor and miserable. The plan itself was not sound. I mean, what could go wrong with poison?
Romeo killing himself was a quick act of desperation and weakness, not of true love. Juliet’s was of the same, because all in all, what did killing themselves really prove? It didn’t say romantic to me that they couldn’t live without each other. They knew each other for a week! They made it the whole rest of their lives without each other, why can’t they go on after? Both of them were being irrational and idiotic. Had they lived, they probably would have broken up anyway. Both children were too accustomed to money and privileges to slum it with each other and just enjoy each other’s company.
The end of the story saw the parents realizing the errors of their ways and getting over their feud. They made up and grew up at the cost of their children’s lives. Young love is not real love; it is ill-informed and overdramatic. When it is over, it’s nothing to kill yourself over. Fourteen year old girls are not old enough to know what they want in life, let alone know what love is like. I don’t understand how this is any different than a modern-day fourteen year old, killing herself over a high school boy that she couldn’t be with. There’s nothing romantic about that. It’s just sad. There are more important things in life than first “love”. Life goes on. I believe that was the moral of the story.