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Most people would probably tell you that the thesis (or theme) to Romeo and Juliet is going to have something to do with true love. After all, isn’t this play the classic example of true love? To tell you the truth, not everyone agrees with that.
For one thing, the characters are awfully young to know what true love is. We don’t expect kids in their early to mid-teens to have an appreciation of love yet. Infatuation yes, but love? Probably not. This would not have been any more true in Shakespeare’s time than ours.
For another thing, they have only just met before events start to unravel. Are a couple of meetings enough time to get to know someone well enough to truly love them? Of course not. It may be enough to develop a crush or a physical attraction, but not love.
Shakespeare was no dummy, and I doubt very much that he really expected his audience to buy this story from Romeo and Juliet’s point of view. Rather, look at the circumstances that surround Romeo and Juliet. They are forbidden from seeing each other, both by the tradition of the family feud and by Romeo’s untimely killing of Tybalt. The inflexibility, even hatred, of their respective families for each other sets the whole tragic chain in motion.
Shakespeare is saying something along the lines of “hatred and enmity, when it thwarts the earnest wishes of others, creates tragedy that it cannot foresee or control.” This thesis holds the families responsible for the actions taken by Romeo and Juliet. Whether or not they really have a true love for each other doesn’t actually matter.
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