What is the moral behind the story in Romeo and Juliet?

The moral behind the story in Romeo and Juliet is to let old prejudices go and to not let emotions control one's life. If the Capulets and Montagues had let their family rivalry stay in the past and had not let their emotions dictate their actions, it is likely that Romeo and Juliet would not have died as they did.

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One moral in Romeo and Juliet is that it can be disastrous to try to control others' lives.

The Capulets and Montagues held tight to their "ancient grudge," and their children knew that they had to hide their relationship from their parents. Lord Capulet had already made plans for Juliet to marry Paris, and he was unwilling to allow Juliet the freedom to choose someone else. When Juliet attempts to voice her preference not to marry Paris, her father is enraged, telling her to get herself to the church that Thursday "or never after look [him] in the face." Juliet's mother fails to support her daughter's wishes, telling Juliet that she is "done with" her and to "talk not to [her], for [she'll] not speak a word." Lord and Lady Capulet cling so tightly to their own plans that they fail to recognize the desperation in their daughter's pleas, and she is thus compelled to take dangerous measures to try to achieve the life she desires.

Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, also tries to intervene on behalf of the family's "grudge." When he spies Romeo at the Capulet party, Tybalt's sense of retribution grows, and he is determined to fight Romeo to prove that he will enforce the boundaries of hatred between their two families. In the end, this proves to be a fatal mistake, and the scene ends with both Mercutio and Tybalt dead.

In the end, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet bring a peace to the two families, but the tragedy lies in the fact that neither family is willing to consider the desires of their children until it is too late. Thus, the Prince notes that "all are punished" when people are determined to dictate others' lives, particularly when that sense of control grows out of deep hatred.

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The moral of Romeo and Juliet is one of letting old family wounds go, and not letting your emotions rule your life. The Montague and the Capulets have let an old family rivalry take over their lives. They refuse to have anything to with each other. They are both a very powerful and influential, but they have such hatred for the other. 

If the two families had let the rift between them go, then they may have been able to save the lives of their two children. If they had allowed Romeo and Juliet to be able to have an open relationship and not make them feel like they have to hide their relationship, then the two families could have come together and had a great life together. If Romeo and Juliet had been a little more patient with their relationship, and given their parents time to maybe come to an understanding, then they wouldn't have lost their lives. The whole moral is to let go of the things in the past, and to keep control over your emotions. The opening lines of the play tells how the hatred between the two families led to the death of their beloved children.

"Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood marks civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life. Whose misadventures piteous overthrows. Do with their deaths bury their parent's strife. The fearful of their death-marked love. And the continuance of their parent's rage, which, but their children end, nought could remove, is now the two hours traffic of our story. The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend."

If the parents had put aside their hatred and let Romeo and Juliet be together, then the whole family could have come together and shown the world how strong family could be.

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Overall, I'd say the moral of Romeo and Juliet is that excessive emotions are bad and that it's better to be calm and rational.  Here are some ways I think that is shown in the play.

First and foremost, the feud between the Capulets and Montagues is not rational and is taken too far.  If the two families would have been less caught up in their emotions, Romeo and Juliet might have been allowed to marry openly and not end up dying.  The two families realize this at the end of the play.

I think this theme is also present in the interaction between the two young lovers.  If they had not rushed into things (the marriage, Romeo's suicide) things might have been different.  But they were in a hurry, swept up in their emotions.

So I'd say a major message you can take away from this play is to not be swept up in emotions and thereby caused to do rash things.


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