What is Shakepeare trying to teach us through Romeo and Juliet? If part of what a writer seeks to do is reveal some aspect of human nature to us, what is Shakepeare trying to teach us through Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers info

stolperia eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write2,948 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

One of the beauties of most great literature is that it is open to interpretation, with every reader finding in it the themes or messages that speak to that person's particular background circumstances, experiences, needs, and feelings. Certainly, Shakespeare was a master of being able to create characters and situations whose dialogue could be understood to communicate many different meanings, dependent upon the viewpoint of the listener! All of the above posts are demonstrations of this...

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

creativethinking eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write83 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Arts

All and yet none of these answers could be correct. By virtue of your question, we're considering that writers "seek to reveal some aspect of human nature to us." Certainly, literature reveals traits about humanity and holds them up to us like a mirror. And, just as one's reflection in a mirror includes each detail of our appearance down to our very pores if we get close enough, the portraits that literary works portray are extremely complex. (They, too, also get more complicated the closer we look!) To say "the main theme of Romeo and Juliet is ____" or "Shakespeare is trying to teach us this: ____" is to oversimplify the intensity and nuance of the work. The best we can do is identify a particular theme, like the Free Will vs. Fate idea that e-martin mentioned, and track its development through the plot via specific illustrative examples. But a true scholar would be aware that there are multiple themes, and it is the interplay/tension of those ideas that, along with the reader's personal experience and interpretation, result in the message, effect, and therefore "teaching" conveyed by the text.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

kiwi eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,176 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Shakespeare is highlighting the explosive energies that intense passion can bring. We see this in the love between Romeo and Juliet, the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, the anger of Tybalt and the excesses of Mercutio. Intensity of passion is what makes life exciting, but can have tragic consequences.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Bruce Bergman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor


calendarEducator since 2011

write3,640 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

This play, like Macbeth, seems to explore the notion of "free will versus fate". Though Romeo and Juliet choose to act as they do there is also a strong implication that the two are fated to their particular doom. 

Here the doom is not supernatural but completely natural. It is a doom born out of human nature. In Macbeth the idea of fate is represented by supernatural forces (the witches).

In both plays an outcome is defined before the characters have made their decisions, raising a question as to how avoidable the outcome truly is, how much an individual can change his/her fate, and how set an individual's path may be by forces outside of his/her control. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litlady33 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write272 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Shakespeare is saying many things about...

(The entire section contains 9 answers and 909 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lmetcalf eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,941 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,697 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial