Why shouldn't Romeo and Juliet get married in Romeo and Juliet?

In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet's marriage could be considered unwise due to the conflict between their families, their young ages, and their unwillingness to openly act against their families.

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The largest obstacle in the way of Romeo and Juliet's marriage is the blood feud going on between their two families. While Friar Laurence feels such a union could force the families to reconcile, it is a risky assumption. In the end, the marriage leads to the lovers being more estranged from their families rather than bringing anyone closer together.

An oft-cited argument against Romeo and Juliet's union is that the two have only known each other for a short period, and their passion for one another is not likely to last. In addition, both characters are only teenagers. Passion within marriage seems to be less of an issue with the adults of the play, and the ages of Romeo and Juliet are not considered impediments to marriage: after all, Juliet's own father feels she is ready to be married to Paris by the midpoint of the play. However, a modern audience might cite these factors as a good argument against the marriage: they are very young and acting rashly.

Another point against the viability of their getting married is that the two are unwilling to cut ties with their lives in Verona to be together. It has been observed that Romeo and Juliet might have lived had they left Verona and lived together elsewhere, such as Mantua. Note that Juliet fakes her own death rather than run away from home because she wants to remain on good terms with her family and have Romeo in her life at the same time. However, even this option would not be the best because they have little to no resources to live on outside of their families.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 4, 2020
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There are so many reasons Romeo and Juliet should not get married.

First, there are the obvious problems. Their families hate each other—in fact, they are killing each other when they can—so the twosome has to sneak around and marry secretly. As we find out when the married Juliet is expected to marry Paris, this was not the best of ideas.

Even without that obstacle, there are other serious issues. For example, they have only known each other about a day when they get married. That really isn't enough time to get beneath the surface of physical attraction, let alone get to know the other person.

Further, as Friar Laurence points out to Romeo, he should beware that his passion for Juliet is running so high that it might burn out. Then he would be married—in a society without divorce—to a person he didn't love.

Finally, the two are very young. Romeo's age isn't given (he is assumed to be in this late teens or early twenties), but he acts very much like an adolescent. Juliet is scarcely 14. Early marriages were more common during the time of the play, but both nevertheless seem very inexperienced to be entering into such a serious commitment as marriage.

It would make sense for them to slow down, get to know each other better, and perhaps find a way to approach their parents before rushing into matrimony.

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1. One significant reason that Romeo and Juliet should not get married concerns their age and maturity. Romeo is portrayed as a brash, instinctive young man, who is emotional and spontaneous. His dramatic feelings regarding Rosaline and his immediate infatuation with Juliet reveal his lack of maturity and thoughtlessness. The fact that he immediately contemplates suicide after he is banished from Verona also illustrates his immaturity. One could surmise that Romeo's emotional, capricious disposition is not conducive to a pleasant, successful marriage. In addition to Romeo's immaturity, Juliet is only thirteen years old, and her father does not initially believe that she old enough to marry Paris in act 1, scene 2.

2. Their lack of familiarity with each other is another significant reason that they should not get married. Romeo and Juliet decide to get married after knowing each other for less than twenty-four hours. Friar Lawrence even warns Romeo,

Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast. (Shakespeare, 2.3.94)

3. The last reason Romeo and Juliet should not get married concerns the fact their families are enemies. The Capulets and Montagues have been feuding for some time, and the young lovers' marriage would more than likely cause serious issues and violence to erupt once more between the prominent families.

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The biggest and most obvious reason is that the Montagues and Capulets have a blood feud. The families can barely pass each other in the street without the situation devolving into a sword fight. It isn’t likely, then, that either family would approve of a marriage between Romeo and Juliet. Another reason they shouldn’t get married is because Juliet already has a prospective suitor in Paris, a man entirely more appropriate than Romeo, given the blood feud. Both of Juliet’s parents express their hope that Juliet marry Paris, and it would be no small matter for Juliet to go against her parents’ wishes given the sexist environment to which she is subjected. During Shakespeare’s time, women were not given much choice in anything, and this is especially true for marriage. Given both of these factors, it is very dangerous for Romeo and Juliet to get married, and their decision to do so ultimately leads to both of their deaths.

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