How are the relationships between parents and teenagers from Romeo and Juliet relevant in today's society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one could hope that things are different between teens and their parents than in the time of Verona's star crossed lovers.  The fact that hostilities were so much at a point that conflict and feuding was inevitable is something that is regrettably still present, though in a more diluted form.  However, I think that one of the most applicable ideas from the drama is how Juliet and her parents interact.  The exchange between child and parents in the fifth scene of the third act is fairly telling.  The idea that a child must honor the commitments that parents made with strict obedience is something that we still see in the dynamics between parent and child.  The proverbial "line in the sand" is drawn and the parents' decisions regarding the future of their child are announcements and not discussions.  The relationship between both child and parents in this scene is telling.  Lady Capulet's "I have done with thee" and Lord Capulet's insistence that Juliet will not receive any compensation or support if she does not accept the terms of the decision are representative of a frail relationship.  This association is one where love is present if there is only complete acceptance.  It is also a setting where power is being exercised.  These elements are still present in the relationships between parent and child today.  One could hope that the modern setting features more dialogue and greater discussion that validates the child's voice and experience.  Nonetheless, it would be naive to say that these situations where power compels obedience do not present themselves in the modern parent/ child setting.

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