I was wondering if someone can explain to me the meaning of the old vs young theme in Romeo and Juliet.
The theme of age is intertwined in with the theme of love and hate. From the opening sonnet, the chorus says "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny." The hatred runs deep into the past of these two families. Using the word "ancient" makes it seem like many generations have had this hatred for each other. So with that hatred is the older family members. In the opening fight scene, Romeo enters and describes the scene as "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love." He knew that it was the same old fighting again. With the "old" came the hatred.
What is different in the young lovers is that they do not hold any grudges. They love each other unconditionally. Even though they find out about the other's family, they want to work it out. They even think it could fix the quarrel between the two families if they do marry. So while the older family members represent the hatred, Romeo and Juliet (and even Mercutio and Benvolio)--the "young" all represent love. Mercutio is a very colorful, loving character. He never intends to do harm to anyone. Benvolio is simply known as the peacemaker. So it is evident that only the "young" family members/characters feel the love. There is no hatred in any of them. There might be anger, but there is love before there is anger. Hopefully that clears up the theme for you. It's about young vs old, but better yet, it's love vs hate.