What is Shakespeare's theme about young love?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, the author explores young love through the theme of Fate - and how they are both it's mercy and the mercy of those who are supposed to be looking after their best interests. Instead of the latter, the adults in the play set a bad example to the two impressionable young people, through their family bickering,squabbling and feuding. The prince warns it will lead to trouble one day but it is no good, no-one takes his warning seriously and everyone carries on the same - the two young lovers are "star-cross'd" by Fate, not only in their futures but also in the hand fate has dealt them family-wise. There is a sense of foreboding from the very start of their love.

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

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As previously stated, there will be many responses to this question.  One reason why this might be would be due to the fact that there could be some intense debate as to whether or not what is seen in the play is actually love.  Are the two in love with "the idea of being in love?"  Are they really infatuated with one another?  There is little to indicate that the experiences which help to create "love" are present and that both of them plunge into the other without really establishing much in way of a foundation or some type of stability.  This might be Shakespeare's statement about young love in that the fires of passion end up consuming, prevent full love from taking hold.  In the end, I think that if one believes that both are in love with another, a potential theme that is brought out that young people in love possess a level of zeal that overcomes and drives them, animating their spirit more than anything else in the world.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Opinions vary concerning what Shakespeare is revealing about young love in Romeo and Juliet

First, you can interpret the play by viewing Romeo and Juliet's passion as leading them quickly into catastrophe.  Their impetuosity knows no limits, and leads to their destruction.  Shakespeare takes great pains to compress the action into a mere five days.  Their love is reckless and destructive.

Some, however, think Shakespeare is representing the tradition of courtly love with Romeo and Juliet.  They meet, fall immediately in love, battle obstacles, and vow to love unto death, which they do.  One aspect of courtly love the two definitely exhibit is their reverence for love itself.  It carries more importance than all else.   

These are just two of the ideas Shakespeare may reveal in his play.  I'll let another editor handle some others. 

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