What are some examples of the generation gap and its effects in Romeo and Juliet?
The effects of the "generation gap" in Romeo and Juliet are complex. On the one hand, we clearly witness Juliet rebelling against her father and mother through her romance and marriage to Romeo. She openly defies them in Act III after Tybalt's death when her father tells her of her arranged marriage to Paris, and her father responds with rage and exasperation with his young daughter:
Wife, we scarce thought us blest
That God had lent us but this only child;
But now I see this one is one too much,
And that we have a curse in having her.
Though Romeo's relationship with his parents is not fully explored in the play, he also goes against his family by marrying Juliet. Of course, there is a powerful sense in which the young people of the play are bound by the traditional hatreds of their elders, and Romeo and Juliet reject these hatreds through their marriage and their deaths, which ironically reconcile the two families. On the other hand, we witness another dimension to the generation gap at the Capulet family masque, when Lord Capulet restrains the hot-blooded Tybalt from attacking Romeo, who has decided to show up for the party. This fateful decision results in Romeo's meeting with Juliet. Friar Laurence also remarks on the impulsiveness of young love throughout the play, as does the Nurse. So the relationship between young people and their elders is very complex, and always shaped by the ancient hatred between the Capulets and Montagues that dooms the young lovers.