Was it right for the feud of the parents to reflect and influence the lives of Romeo and Juliet?Was it right for the feud of the parents to reflect and influence the lives of Romeo and Juliet?

Asked on by dela474

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mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

This is great year to answer this question!  Here's how I explain it to my students:

In an election year, we usually have some students that walk around the school telling everyone who the next President should be.  Most students say their opinion without any real foundation to back them.  They just "know" that it should be Hillary, or it should be Obama, or it should be McCain, etc.  So I ask my students, why do you think it should be that person?  Most of the time, the only reason they are "supporters" of that candidate is because mom and dad are supporters of that candidate.  This is what Romeo and Juliet became a part of; right or wrong, it was the only way of life for any of the Capulets and Montagues.  There were only a few who were strong enough to raise above the insults, Benvolio being one.  So, do I believe it was right for parents to influence kids?  Yes - because that's how life works!

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

My first reaction is to say that of course it's not right. The children should be able to choose their own friends, and the parents should grow up and make peace. Then I have to step back and wonder about those parents. Exactly how long have they been feuding? What caused the feud? It must have been something horrible because a fight starts every time a Montague encounters a Capulet. The fights have become so destructive that the prince has finally been forced to intervene.

Let's stretch the imagination a little and imagine that there is a very good reason for keeping Romeo and Juliet apart. What if they are related by blood? Shakespeare doesn't say that they are, but neither does he say that they're not. My own father had a feud with one of his brothers; whenever one entered a room, the other would leave. When my dad died, it had been more than 30 years since he had spoken to that brother. When you stop to think about what could have happened to cause the problem between the two families, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to keep the kids apart.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

That depends on how you take it.  For instance, members of the Hatfield and McCoy families expected all the generations of their families to remain loyal to their blood relatives--therefore, you were automatically enemies from birth.

I assume if you feel strongly about family bond and that children have a duty to uphold that tradition, then yes, it was right for Romeo and Juliet to be effected in this way.

If you believe that an argument ends with those who began it and that it should not be carried on by generations who follow, of course, Romeo and Juliet would have been free to socialize as they wished.  If this were the case, however, we would not have a play!  The whole premise of Romeo and Juliet is their forbidden love, secret marriage, and the misunderstandings that follow!

bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Of course it wasn't right, but it's been going on so long that no one can remember what started the feud. Romeo and Juliet only know that their families are enemies, but even they don't know why. Friar Lawrence agrees to marry the two in hopes he can stop the feud, but fate doesn't allow everything to go according to plan. It's only after Romeo and Juliet are both dead that the feud ends.

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