What modern songs relate to the acts of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?  

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To pick songs related to Shakespeare's acts in Romeo and Juliet, we would first identify a major theme in each act. Then, it's easy to perform Google keyword searches on songs based on the same theme and pick the ones that interest you.

In the first act of the play, Shakespeare introduces the theme concerning violence and juxtaposes it with love to show the inanity of violence. Many popular antiviolence songs exist. One song was released by the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas in 2003 and titled "Where is the Love?" As a song that covers many topics, including racism, terrorism, senseless killing, pleas to God for help, and love, the song ideally expresses the central theme found in the first act of the play.

The play opens with servants of the Montagues and Capulets breaking out into a senseless brawl in the streets of Verona. Benvolio echoes the cries for peace found in The Black Eyed Peas' song when he declares, "Part, fools! / Put up your swords; you know not what you do" (I.i.50-51). Similar cries for peace are found throughout the song, such as in the following two lines of the fourth stanza:

Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all.

In asking their audience to "take control of [our] minds," the performers are asserting, just like Benvolio, that we are being foolish, even insane. And, just like Benvolio, the performers are asserting that the only way to establish peace is by being calm, rational, and finding love in our hearts.