Reflect freely your opinions of this play.
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Romeo and Juliet
I did not appreciate Romeo and Juliet when I had to read it in high school (and I actually liked a lot of Shakespeare's other works then). But I have come to appreciate some of the subtleties in it, even though I don't think it is quite up to par with King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, or Othello. I find the roles of the Friar and the Nurse to be particularly interesting, almost to the point where I wonder if they shouldn't be held accountable for the deaths of the two lovers. I guess you could say that my appreciation for the play has grown over the years.
Although I teach Romeo and Juliet, it is not one of my Shakespeare favorites. I like the language and the poetry, but I just find the plot a bit too far-fetched for my taste. I can't see it really happening. The lengths to which the principal characters go to be together is what some people enjoy about this play, but it doesn't work for me.
Romeo and Juliet is a great play to get young people reading and talking about Shakespeare. While I agree that the plot is far-fetched, that is exactly what my students like to talk about and debate. It gets them thinking about what they would do for friendship and love. It gets them thinking about love and life. The language is challenging, but they understand the motivations and intentions of the characters which makes the themes of various speeches more assessable for a novice reader. The play clearly illustrates all of the conventions of a Shakespearean tragedy.
There are several levels at which Romeo and Juliet can be appreciated, a condition that allows this poetic tragedy to be taught to all levels of learners. The storyline of young love appeals to teens, the theme of Youth vs. Age is one to which youth can relate and the beautiful imagery and poetic language of the play, especially in the Balcony scene delight even the reluctant literature student. The light/dark imagery and the two sonnets are of interest to the more thoughtful students. That the adults are irresponsible, too, appeals to the students who have been chastised too often, "I know what I'm talking about; I am an adult."
There are also more than one choice for cinematic viewing of this play. While some may enjoy better the traditional film, the version in which Leonardo diCaprio stars as a gang leader appeals to some as does the musical West Side Story.
Romeo and Juliet is a sad and tragic play. It is a play that is easily debatable on whether their deaths were inevitable, whose fault was it... etc.
This play is rather simple and gives us a situation that would be least likely to happen in mordern times. However, some scenes, especially the balcony scene and the night of the ball, are rather enjoyable. Also, jokes that do not appeal to people nowadays still do make me laugh (only during Literature lessons though)
Another reason why I like Romeo and Juliet is also because it would be easier to answer the questions during exams. It is not a very confusing play and requires the perfect amount of analysing and appreciation to get a good mark for the exams.
Literature for the win! :)
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