What is admirable and flawed about Romeo in Romeo and Juliet?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly, Romeo is a complex character.  I think that his willingness to be so brazen with his emotions and feelings makes him an admirable character.  In a setting where most men are one dimensional or driven by partisanship, Romeo is the opposite.  Shakespeare's Verona are filled with men who are driven by loyalties to party lines (Capulets or Montagues) or men who are tools of such divisions (Tybalt or Mercutio).  I think that Romeo is one who allows his feelings to transcend such distinctions with his pursuit of Juliet and his overall feelings that indicate escape from Verona is the only viable option.  At the same time, I think that a case can be made that this is the very source of his failures and his flaws.  His emotional sensibility becomes the overriding and dominant force.  Simply put, his emotion adds more to a situation that could use less of it.  Romeo lacks the judgment and clarity that Juliet possesses.  Whereas she possesses the surmise that allows for thought and rumination, he is the function aspect that simply responds.  While both suffer in the politicized climate that is Verona, in the end, his failures are quite evident in how he acts and carries himself.

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