- Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.
In William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the love which they engage in cannot be called that of “infatuated children engaging in puppy love.” Despite her youth, Juliet proceeds with the relationship in a careful manner, telling him, “I have no joy of this contract to-night. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden” (2.2 116-118). Juliet is not impulsive, or childlike in her actions; rather, she dislikes Romeo’s sudden appearance underneath her balcony. She proceeds with caution, knowing what she is getting herself into. Romeo as well, though he seems a playboy and a flirt, is very serious on this matter. He tells Friar Lawrence his intentions, saying, “I’ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray, that thou consent to marry us to-day” (2.3 63-64) Romeo has the intention to marry Juliet, and in his time period, divorce would have been very difficult. He loves her so much that he wishes to marry her the very next day, and in 14th century Verona this would’ve been a lifelong commitment. Romeo and Juliet are making conscientious decisions well aware of the consequences that lie ahead of them.
- To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/citation to your research at the end of your response.
Kulich’s argument about how Romeo and Juliet should be viewed as mature adults proves to be historically accurate. In the 14th century, girls were eligible for marriage at the age of 12. All that was needed for the couple to not be related, consent to be given and the marriage vows to be clandestine, exchanged in public or in front of a priest. However, this argument proves to be somewhat ineffective, seeing as the original source material The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, translated by Brooke, was adapted by Shakespeare to emphasize certain themes. For example, Juliet’s age is reduced from 16 to 13 to make her seem more vulnerable and youthful. Brooke’s version had Romeo and Juliet married for several months before Tybalt died, causing their separation. Shakespeare condenses these months into a mere four days, making it seem as though Romeo and Juliet childishly rush headlong into their untimely deaths. Though Kulich’s argument stands from a historical standpoint, it may have been Shakespeare’s intention to make it seem as though Romeo and Juliet are merely “infatuated children.”
Anon, (2018). Marriage in 14th Century England. [online] Available at: https://ctlsites.uga.edu/whatthehistory/marriage-in-14th-century-england/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].
Cliffsnotes.com. (2018). About Romeo and Juliet. [online] Available at: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/r/romeo-and-juliet/about-romeo-and-juliet-2 [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].
Crossref-it.info. (2018). Marriage in England in the fourteenth century » The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale Study Guide from Crossref-it.info. [online] Available at: http://crossref-it.info/textguide/The-Wife-of-Bath’s-Prologue-and-Tale/30/2014?jump=h2-4 [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].
*I know it seems like I might’ve disagreed with myself due to the discrepancies in the first and second paragraph, but I wanted to see this from all points, and not let my own opinion influence the second answer too much.