In his article "In Defense of Romeo and Juliet: It's Not Childish, It's *About* Childishness," what does Noah Berlatsky argue about the use of youth and age in Romeo and Juliet? How does he connect it to an argument about Shakespeare's work in general?

Noah Berlatsky argues in "In Defense of Romeo and Juliet: It's Not Childish, It's *About* Childishness" that Shakespeare uses the tropes of youth and age in more complex ways than some modern critics of Romeo and Juliet have recognized. He claims that this dynamic is what makes the play relevant today.

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In this article, published in The Atlantic in 2013, Berlatsky takes issue with a similar piece written by Alyssa Rosenberg, who argued that Romeo and Juliet was vastly overrated, based upon a childish and silly conception of love and adolescence.

Berlatsky does not really refute this claim, but he argues that Romeo and Juliet's impulsive and ultimately self-destructive love is part of a broader theme in the play. He notes that Juliet's very young age (thirteen) is discussed at multiple points in the play, contrasted throughout with the age of some of the other characters, like the Nurse. His basic claim is that Shakespeare consistently plays on the trope of age and youth, as young characters express disdain for the old and older characters seem mystified by the decisions of the young. Sometimes, though, older characters act like children.

In short, Berlatsky argues that age, youth, maturity, and callowness are fluid and problematic categories in Romeo and Juliet. Even the play's central plot device, the feud between the two rival families, seems a bit childish, especially in the context of the two lovers' attempt to transcend it. In other words, for Berlatsky, Romeo and Juliet is not just a play about young, impulsive people who are destroyed by the naïveté of young love. Rather, it is, or at least contains, meditations on youth and age that remain relevant in our own time. The context for the piece is Rosenberg's commentary on a modern remake of the play. Implicitly, then, Berlatsky is arguing that the works of Shakespeare still have relevance today.

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