Or better yet…Screw Romeo.
Allow me to be among the first to say this: I hate Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet, for those who don’t know, is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Most commonly known as the “most tragic love story” ever to have been written, writers try to capture the same timelessness in their own writing as the playwright.
A little bit of a lesser-known history: It isn’t completely Shakespeare’s. He borrowed most of the storyline from a book called The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, written by a man named Arthur Brooke in 1562. Shakespeare did invent smaller characters like Paris in his version to further enhance the plot, but it remains strikingly similar to the first.
As a story, I enjoy it; I think the characters are extremely well-developed, and the twisting storyline is phenomenal. What I don’t like are the interpretations of it… in other words, how everyone is taught to love it.
In my mind, Shakespeare is a comedian. If you read any of his other plays, like Othello, there are more innuendos and fart jokes scrawled throughout the pages than in a middle schooler’s 7-year-old textbook.
Usually, when Romeo and Juliet is taught, we are told to think of it as “a tragic love story of two star-crossed teens who are torn apart only by death blah blah blah.” People love Romeo and Juliet because they love to remember what it’s like to be young and in love. Most of us are all too familiar with the teenage feeling of twists in your tummy when the person you think you’re in love with passes by.
Romeo and Juliet was written to make fun of that.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses his favorite language weapon: sarcasm. Just imagine: A drunk 30-something Shakespeare in Olde England, pouncing around his room shrieking and hollering this line: “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Shakespeare knew that everyone adores a good love story; so why not take his most popular plays (tragedies, of course!) and flip it to an un-happy ending?
He wanted to prove how silly it was for the two insanely rich young people, who have gotten everything they have ever wanted in life, who now think they want each other, to loose everything for this ‘love’. AFTER ONLY THREE DAYS.
In case you can’t tell, I am a Shakespeare nut. I love his plays, his sonnets, his everythings. I don’t find him to be the least bit overrated.
But as with anything, I would encourage you to look a little bit deeper than just the surface story. There’s millions upon millions of ways to look at everything, and it’s so much more fun to find what you really think of it than just what you’ve been told.
Don’t take over the world without me.
PS- A 17-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl? Even back then… That’s a little creepy.