Friday, May 2, 2014

Reasons Not To Have a Romeo

I'd like to dedicate this post to my English teacher, who first made me realize that I do not want to have a Romeo for a boyfriend/husband.

Instead of analyzing the plot and storyline of "Romeo and Juliet" in this post, I'd like to analyze the character of Romeo to prove my point: the average person would not want a Romeo for a spouse or something-other.

First, some background info on Shakespeare's famous tragedy.  I think it's common knowledge that Romeo and Juliet are from rival families--the Montagues and Capulets, respectively.  It's also common knowledge that under unusual circumstances, Romeo and Juliet meet, fall in love, marry, and die because of, arguably, their own folly (or the families; whomever you want to blame).

At the time I'm writing this (about a week before I'm posting it), my class has only just completed Act Two--so I guess you could say that I have no right to be analyzing the character of Romeo at all.  But I'm only going to dive into his character in Acts One and Two, so hang with me :-)

First, ROMEO IS FICKLE.  I get so frustrated with him as I read it.  Basically, what happens is he's in love with another girl, Rosaline.  

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), she doesn't return his feelings.  

Out of her favour, where I am in love.
(Act One, Scene One)

Romeo, however, is in the moody hormonal, fifteen-year-old mindset that he is in love with Rosaline.  (People in those days married at a young age.  Juliet was thirteen.)

I am too sore enpierced with his shaft
To soar with his light feathers, and so bound,
I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe:
Under love's heavy burden do I sink.
(Act One, Scene Four)

After discovering that Rosaline is to attend the Capulets' party, he (although a Montague) sneaks into the party and finds that Juliet is more suited to his attraction.  

Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
(Act One, Scene Five)

He forgets Rosaline in an instant.

Are you kidding me?  Look at it this way: he moons around about Rosaline, sets eyes on a more attractive girl, and forgets about his supposed first love. 

You might argue that he simply fell out of his love with Rosaline, but look at this:

"Love never ends." (1 Corinthians 13:8a, ESV).  

LOVE NEVER ENDS.  Rosaline wasn't love.  So how can we trust a moody fifteen-year-old's judgment on love if his attraction to Rosaline wasn't love?

Second, ROMEO IS IMPULSIVE.  The "wherefore art thou Romeo" scene by Juliet's balcony occurs a couple hours after they first meet.  After the balcony scene, Romeo rushes to the local priest and asks him to marry them the next day.  

Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
And all combined, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage: when and where and how
We met, we woo'd and made exchange of vow,
I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
That thou consent to marry us to-day.
(Act Two, Scene Three) 
What kind of person would mope around one day, fall in love with another person, and then marry them THE NEXT DAY?  

An impulsive person who doesn't think, that's what.

"Love bears all thingsbelieves all thingshopes all thingsendures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:7).  

If Romeo truly loved Juliet, he would be able to wait until he cleared his head a little bit.  Love is waiting.  Love is hoping.  Love is believing.  Love is enduring.

Love is not "let's-go-to-the-local-priest-and-convince-him-to-marry-us-the-day-after-we-meet."

Lastly, ROMEO IS NOT RATIONAL.  (The word I originally put there was "dumb," but I decided I needed to be less negative.)  Lost in the passions of the flesh, he persuades Juliet to marry him, forgetting that he's a Montague and she's a Capulet, and that there will surely be consequences if they are found out.  Let's not forget, the rival families would go so far as to murder each other if they got in each other's way.

This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
(Act One, Scene Five) 

I'm all for shattering society's barriers, but not in the way Romeo and Juliet do it.  They marry, never thinking of the consequences of their actions, and ultimately this leads to their demise.  Perhaps they could have waited, renounced their family ties, and run away together, leaving their families to think.  They didn't have to die the way they did!

But they did!

Why couldn't he have waited and developed Juliet's friendship first?  Why, why, why, why?

Why didn't he?

He was not rational.

"It does not insist on its own way." (1 Corinthians 13:5)

He insisted on his own way, and where did that lead him?  Kudos to Juliet, too, for not standing up to him when she had inhibitions about their sudden marriage.  And kudos to Friar Lawrence and the nurse for knowing about the marriage but not stopping it.


And although "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy, Shakespeare could be poking fun at the society in his day, and pointing out the folly in letting the young people get married so soon.  

So...if somebody sweeps you off your feet and tries to carry you off the next day to be married, please don't marry them.  That's what I call "doing a Romeo," and believe me, you will probably regret doing a Romeo.

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou so fickle and impulsive and not rational?


P.S.  Any thoughts on Romeo and Juliet?  Feel free to comment, but please keep everything edifying to those around you :-)


  1. Hi!
    So I am officially the worst ever. It was brought to my attention this morning, that I had given my flash fiction prompt to the. wrong. person.
    I am so embarrassed... and not sure if there is time to fix the problem I've created! At any rate; here is the prompt:
    You have a 1000 word limit. Your prompt is this scenario: The elevator in your apartment shuts down on the way to the fourth floor, with you and five other people in it. Write this scene and the dialogue between characters.
    Again, I am SO sorry!!