If you were Romeo or Juliet, would you do the same thing in the name of love?

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I think this is an important question because it gets at the heart of a long-standing debate: Is Romeo & Juliet actually a love story? There are certainly beautiful passages about love, and Shakespeare uses his sizable wit and immeasurable talent to craft beautiful, lyrical poetry to woo us into thinking it is a love story. But I fall squarely on the side of the debate that says this play is not the greatest love story of all time. In fact, it isn't a love story at all. Instead it is better to view Romeo & Juliet as a tragedy that explores elements of love, rather than a love story in the traditional sense.

Think about it: We begin the story when Romeo is all sad about some woman we never meet. He's heartbroken, he'll never be the same. Cut to ten minutes later, where he meets Juliet and falls in love again. It's "too rash, too unadvised, too sudden", as much young love is. Juliet is 13 years old at the beginning of the play, and the story lasts for only a series of days. It is a story of infatuation and hasty decisions, and it leaves the audience wishing they had slowed down, taken the time to plan things out together, and that's what makes it a tragedy.

To answer the question more directly: No. Because true love would not require the ultimate sacrifice.

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To answer this question, you must first remember that Romeo and Juliet were unaware of the complete truth. Juliet was under the impression that Romeo knew her plan to pretend to die, but Romeo actually never received her message. Romeo was therefore convinced that Juliet was actually dead. He was acting on the impression that the love of his life was gone forever. So the question is, if you were Romeo, would you commit suicide because your true love was dead? Or if you were Juliet, would you understand that Romeo killed himself because he thought you were dead? I believe that in Romeo's case, most people would not. They would mourn their love and perhaps never love again. However, in Juliet's position, there is the additional survivor's guilt and thought that your love had killed himself because of you, and for many people this would be enough to commit suicide.

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