Reading Romeo and Juliet and Romeo Juliet quotes as a story of typical teen and parent tension
Reading Romeo and Juliet and Romeo Juliet quotes as a story of typical teen and parenttensionWill Smith was right: sometimes parents just don’t understand. Of course, he said that before he himselfwas a parent of Karate Kid Jayden and Whip-My-Hair Willow, but we digress. Parental misunderstandingis a common angst-ridden teen’s complaint, but it is a complaint that is well founded. Chalk it up tohormones, generation gaps or just pure angst a la Catcher in The Rye rebellion. It’s still a truth thatparents, kids, psychiatrists and even fancy pants neuroscientists find undeniable.Besides The Fresh Prince, another famous wordsmith named Will also understood the disconnectsbetween parents and their pubescent progeny. Of course, we’re talking about the bard himself, WillShakespeare. Shakespeare, a perennial favorite among high school English teachers, appreciated youngadults that were in conflict with the wishes and expectations of their parents. Heck, he capitalized on thattension by turning it into classic tragedies. Of course, the ultimate story of parents not understanding ishis iconic masterpiece Romeo and Juliet. Talk about family conflicts! A play about two star-crossed 13-year-olds from feuding families, who despite their obligations to their parents, pursue their love and gethitched. Of course, as everyone knows, it wasn’t happily ever after. Both die by suicide after when animpetuous and preoccupied Romeo misses a simple message, a type of problem that probably wouldn’texist today with all the Twittering and texting going on. If only Romeo and Juliet was 400 something yearslater, we’d have a completely different story.The cause of Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy, of course, is their parents and families. Montague and Capuletsmight as well be the Bloods and the Crypts for the two teenaged lovers. What’s more, Juliet’s parents aretrying to get her to marry someone else, threatening to disown her if she does not. Alas, her heart lieswith Romeo, whose name alone causes her much pain, as evidenced in one of the the oft-recited Romeoand Juliet quotes from the famous balcony scene, “Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”Shakespeare’s sympathies clearly lie with the two lovers and their tragic ends, while showing the parentsto be unforgiving and unyielding people who are largely to blame for their children’s suicides. Perhapsthat is why Romeo and Juliet, besides its relative ease and accessibility, is often high school-ers firstexperience with Shakespeare because it speaks to their frustration of what they consider tyrannicalparents. Of course, it could also show angst-y teens that issues over curfews and grades are smallpotatoes compared to what Romeo and Juliet faced. Nonetheless, the parents are cast as theunintentional villains of the play, with their grudges imposed on their children causing them not only strifebut ultimately grief. The parents do not know or could not even understand Romeo and Juliet’s love thatwas so explicitly forbidden. Their demand for hate over love is the ultimate example of parent’s just notunderstanding.