Reflect on the themes of Romeo and Juliet and how they pertain to real life.

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the reasons that Romeo and Juliet has had such enduring fame (and the reason it is still part of high school curricula) is because it addresses themes that are basically timeless. Romeo and Juliet contrasts the love shared by the title characters with the mutual hatred of their two families. It deals with the issue (and, some might say, the consequences) of young people defying their parents. It poses questions about the conflict between fate and free will. There are questions about acting quickly and impetuously instead of being more cautious. Finally, its characters have to weigh their allegiances. Romeo and Juliet follow their hearts instead of fulfilling what audiences in Shakespeare's time may have seen as their obligations to their families. All of these themes are relevant to people's lives today, many of them particularly so to young people. It could be argued, in fact, that the play is among Shakespeare's most relevant for modern readers.