How is Romeo and Juliet culturally relevant today?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo and Juliet is culturally relevant today because of its idea that hatred can be destructive.  

Shakespeare's story proves that no one wins when animosity dominates over all else.  The Montague/ Capulet feud does not accomplish anything meaningful. The only result is a rising death count.  The hatred that dominates both families causes intense pain with the death of both children. 

It takes multiple deaths for both houses to come together.  The lesson here is that people should overcome their hatred.  Such an idea is culturally relevant today. Our world is growing in divisive notions of the good. Political discourses are rooted in binary opposition, along with a frightening rise in dogmatic notions of the good.  Romeo and Juliet is sadly appropriate to such a setting. 

Along these lines, the agents of instruction is culturally relevant. Shakespeare inverts the traditional notion of parents being the teachers.  In this case, the parents need to learn the lesson because both perpetuate the rivalry and expect their children to sustain it.  No better is this evident than when Lady and Lord Capulet essentially disown Juliet upon voicing her disagreement with their ideas.

Shakespeare has the children serve as teachers.  Both parents must learn the error of their ways from their kids' deaths.  In a modern setting that is so heavily geared towards young people, this idea is culturally relevant.  Current conditions of change are not necessarily initiated from the older echelons of the social order. Movements such as Arab Spring or the writings of young people like Malala Yousafzai reflect how young people can teach older ones. Shakespeare's drama reaffirms this notion.  

user7870940 | Student

Romeo and Juliet is culturally relevant today because the main conflict in the play is between Juliet and her father. In the play her father represents the society in which they lived in which the father holds the rights of the daughter including who they will marry. This is culturally relevant today because in american society today people, much like Juliet, believe that they have the right to hold their future in their hands. Juliet represents culturally the need and want of children to form their own paths and make their own choices even if they are not the correct ones. Therefore in conclusion Romeo and Juliet is culturally relevant today because of the way society was structured and the way it is structured today making Shakespeare a universal playwright because his plays relate to human nature and so will always be relevant to the society in which we live.