Whoa there kids
People who know me in person are very aware I have a bit of a beef with Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I of course have to respect the guy for writing such classics and masterpieces. His terribly receding hairline isn’t going anywhere. Yet, I can’t help but raise my brows when people legitimately believe the famous play Romeo and Juliet is a “romance”. To me, it is a story of absolutely shitty choices that leaves to a shitty outcome.
Let’s just start with a brief overview of the play, shall we?
It actually starts off with Romeo pining over another woman. Rosaline, anyone? We don’t see her, but oh, she sure as hell is mentioned. She’s basically uninterested in Romeo because she doesn’t want to give up her lady goods.
Meanwhile Juliet, who I might add is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, finds out some dude named Paris wants to marry her. Anyway, Romeo and his crew decide to crash the Capulet’s (Juliet’s family) ball because Rosaline is on the guest list and Romeo MUST see her. Already seems like this guy is just full of shitty decisions, eh?
Anyway, they crash the party, Romeo and Juliet’s eyes lock and bam love at first sight. It’s all downhill from there. They find out they are both from rival families, but they don’t give a shit because they love each, soulmates, the entire package of delusion. They even start to plan their totally romantic wedding the first actual time they meet in private. Totally romantic, right? So Juliet confides in the Nurse her scheme, while Romeo confides in Friar Laurence, and Romeo’s friend Mercutio just finds the whole situation hilarious and proceeds to laugh his ass off in a corner somewhere. Friar Laurence secretly weds the two lovebirds, and all is happy.
UNTIL TYBALT CAPULET SHOWS UP
You see, Tybalt’s pissed because some lowly Montague and his gang bitches totally crashed his party. So how does Tybalt solve this problem?
Kill Mercutio, of course?
Who sees this go down?
Thus, like any gentleman back in the day would do, Romeo and Tybalt duel until Romeo comes out the victor at the cost of Tybalt’s life. Romeo, realizing “oh shit”, runs off before all of Verona shows up. Thus, the Prince announces Romeo will not be killed, but instead banished. Juliet hears of this news, her beloved husband killed her equally beloved cousin…guess who she cares about more? Oh yes, 24 hour husband. Not family, no! That would be downright stupid! Meanwhile, Friar Laurence comes up with a ~*most excellent plan*~ to have the Prince pardon Romeo, but to make this happen Romeo must run away. Yet, Romeo is allowed to spend his wedding night with Juliet.
Oh yeah, remember that Paris guy? Yeah, he’s pissed. He called dibs on Juliet, didn’t he? Why the heck did this broad not want to marry him? And why the shit is she so sad?
So, Juliet’s father decides a marriage to Paris is JUST THE CURE TO HER SADNESS. So when THIRTEEN YEAR OLD Juliet returns from her lovely wedding night with Romeo, she discovers she is to be married to Paris in two days. So she runs to Friar Laurence’s house and has this weird, I mean really weird kiss with Paris. After Paris leaves Juliet claims she’s going to KILL HERSELF. Since Friar Laurence is sick of this teenage hormone shit, but brilliant with schemes, he makes a concoction that allows her to appear dead for 42 hours. She agrees because she is an idiot, goes home and agrees to marry Paris, and to take the drink to make her appear dead on the day of her wedding and be taken to the Capulet tomb where Romeo is to find her and somehow live happily ever after.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Juliet isn’t the ONLY idiot here….there’s still Romeo! He hears of her death before he hears the elaborate plan. So Romeo buys some poison (because I mean really, it’s not like there are any OTHER fish in the sea right?) and goes to Juliet’s tomb to commit suicide. There he finds Paris, oh you know, MOURNING THE LOSS OF HIS YOUNG NEVER-TO-BE BRIDE. Might I add, PARIS HAS NO IDEA WHO THE HELL ROMEO EVEN IS, so he sees him as an intruder. They fight.
Romeo KILLS PARIS.
Now that Paris is out of the way, he can make a shitty desicion in peace!
So, he enters the tomb, says some shit to Juliet’s dead body and drinks the poison.
Down goes Romeo.
Up comes Juliet.
This was not what was supposed to happen. Oh the grief! The sorrow! There is obviously only one way out of this.
Juliet, out of the grief of her lost near-a-week-but-not-quite lover, stabs herself with a dagger.
Capulets, Montagues, and the Prince of Verona (what) show up to the tomb and find the dead lovers. Friar Laurence confesses everything. The two lords of the rival houses are actually MOVED, yes MOVED, by the story of their dead children and refuse to fight ever again.
Now, the problem I have with this play is not simply the whole “kill yourself if your true love kills themselves” message a majority of the critics have with the play. It’s the fact it ends on a POSITIVE note. The feud ENDS, no more fighting. Their deaths are set up like some sort of twisted martyr case in the name of the families/feud. It’s just…weird. It’s a tragedy, not a romance. It’s insane teenage hormones, not sexy or forbidden.
In short, skip the crap and read Hamlet.