This on-stage couple just doesn’t make sense!

I’ll preface this article with the fact that I love Shakespeare’s plays, truly. Twelfth Night, Othello and King Lear are all brilliant. But Romeo and Juliet’s love story is just… bizarre. We all know the story. Romeo and Juliet are from two feuding families. They meet, fall in love, marry the next day, and then a terrible confusion and miscommunication ends with them both dying. It is the ill-fated romance of two star-crossed lovers; in proper terms, it’s a tragedy.

Much of this play’s ridiculousness comes from the fact that all the action takes place in less than a week. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to suspend their disbelief and become invested in what is known as one of the greatest love stories of all time. It’s also hard to ignore the fact that Juliet is the rebound; if Romeo was able to marry Rosaline he’d have never looked twice at the much-too-young Juliet (She’s 13! Even if we consider this play in its historical context, it’s still weird).

The play is beautifully written, and Shakespeare is a genius, but the fake-death-real-death ending never made any sense to me. Shakespeare wrote some of the best tragedies in history, so why does ‘Romeo and Juliet’ suffer from such an abrupt and frankly silly ending? Granted, the story had to end in tragedy, but there were so many other ways that could have come to fruition. Oh, Romeo, if only you’d waited a few more seconds…

Romeo and Juliet will always be an iconic piece of literature, but the greatest love story of all time? I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

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Nerisse Appleby

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March 2021
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