How are young people presented by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although this is a tragedy, Shakespeare must have had fun writing this play. The young people in it, like many adolescents, are emotional, impulsive, and live intensely in whatever moment they happen to be in.

For example, the play opens with Romeo pining away for Rosaline. When his friends persuade him to go with them to the Capulet's masked ball, Romeo attends reluctantly. He can't believe it is possible he could meet any young woman in Verona who could tempt him away from his undying love for Rosaline. However, once he gets to the party, he falls in love with Juliet with breathtaking speed. We never hear of Rosaline again. 

Romeo and Juliet's emotions are so strong they want to get married the next day. Juliet is as impatient for the wedding as Romeo. She can hardly wait to let her nurse get the words out of her mouth about the hasty marriage plans. 

Romeo also acts impulsively when he thinks Juliet is dead, not stopping to find out what might be going on. He immediately kills himself, and Juliet does the same when she finds him dead. While the overarching tragedy is the feud between the two families, the impulsive nature of adolescence also plays a strong role in the death of the young lovers.