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Romeo and juliet is considered a classic. Why do you believe it is a classic and is...

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cassandra123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 7, 2010 at 1:16 AM via web

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Romeo and juliet is considered a classic. Why do you believe it is a classic and is still taught today? What theme are relevant? 

2 quotes( Uses quotes from any point in the play to support your answer.)

6 sentences or more if you would like.

Notes: Capulest- jews/ Montagues-Palestine

Racisim/Prejudist

-A tale of hate and revenge,

Use any of these ideas of the Open Ended Question.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 7, 2010 at 2:19 AM (Answer #2)

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There are several qualities that enter into a literary work's being considered a classic, one that lasts the test of time.  Among these are the following:

  • Universality - themes and language appeal to people of different cultures as well as different time periods
  • Effective language - the language has a beauty and appeal of its own.
  • Value - a classic explores existential and worthy ideas

Certainly, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet meets the criteria of what makes a classic.  For, its appeal is universal, its themes are forever pertinent, and its language is aesthetic and profound.

The theme of youthful impetuosity vs. the wisdom of age is, indeed, universal:

These violent delights have violent ends,/And in their triumph die, like fire and powder/Which as they kiss consume.  The sweetest honey/Is loathsome in his own deliciousness,/And in the tast confounds the appetite./Therefore, love moderately, long love doth so,/Too swift arrives, as tardy as too slow. (II,vi,9-15)

That the language of Romeo and Juliet is exquisite is clearly evidenced in the meeting of Juliet and Romeo as they speak to each other in a beautiful sonnet:

If I profane my unworthiest hand/This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this,/My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand/To smooth that rought touch with a tender kiss....(I,v,88-102)

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 7, 2010 at 1:23 AM (Answer #1)

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To me, the relevance of Romeo and Juliet has to do with love and its effects.

I think that the major theme of this play that continues to be relevant is the theme of love and what it means.  Because they are in "love" the two main characters make all sorts of decisions that end up being very counterproductive.  You can argue that love has made them stupid.

I think that this is an eternal question -- are they in love or are they infatuated?  What is the difference?  How can young people know when they are truly in love?  How can they be careful so that they do not do stupid things because of being young and in "love?"

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 7, 2010 at 2:36 AM (Answer #3)

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Concerning your question about Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, I'm not how sure how you use two quotes and tackle the issues you list in six sentences.  Good luck with that.

Also, can the Montagues represent Israel, and the Capulets the Palestinians, instead?  My point is that one great difference exists between the situations in Romeo and Juliet and in the Middle East--the Capulets and Montagues, as far as the reader knows, don't even know why they're fighting.  The play shows a petty fued fought for no apparent reason.  That is not the case in the Middle East. 

Also, the play isn't a classic because of the feud, or, if it is, it's because the feud presents the obstacle to the love affair.  The play is a classic because of the love story.

That said, if you need quotes to fulfill the assignment, you need look no further that Act 1.1.  Sampson and Gregory are two Capulets looking for Montagues to fight with.  They are prejudiced toward them and certainly hate them.  Numerous quotes by Sampson should fit your needs.

   

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted March 7, 2010 at 4:55 AM (Answer #4)

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Other themes which make the play 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare a classic are bigotry, prejudice and hatred - in this case between families who have made fighting down through the generations such a habit that they cannot now remember what the original grievance was! Even their servants, relatives and friends take sides and fight and this is even true of those who should know better (the master of the house who calls for his sword.)

The quote I would use for this is ' a plague on both your houses' as this foreshadows the 'plague' of bereavement which afflicts all - and the sorrowful loss of two beautiful young lives, wasted and lost forever.

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