Why is Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet such a big deal for students to read for English that it is often manditory?

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Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is often a student's first introduction to Shakespeare.  The play fits well for students to experience Shakespeare as it is a play about young love, parents who won't listen, and the tragedy of hatred and miscommunication.  Students also experience the language of Shakespeare and his wordplay, his use of puns, and the beauty of his writing.  Shakespeare was a bit daring in this play by presenting young love which ends in tragedy when most audiences expected young love to end happily.  Yet neither principal character in this play has a tragic flaw; thus, Shakespeare elevates Fate as the moving force behind this tragedy which was not a common theme.  With all of this, Romeo and Juliet is a perfect starting point for reading Shakespeare.

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