I'm of the firm opinion Shakespeare was a master at creating some of the most unlikable characters in the history of English literature. The differenc...moreI'm of the firm opinion Shakespeare was a master at creating some of the most unlikable characters in the history of English literature. The difference, of course, as far as the play Romeo and Juliet is concerned, is that such was most likely done on purpose. It's redundant or unnecessary to say that I enjoyed the story, because I doubt very much it's possible not to enjoy the experience of reading Shakespeare. However, the fact that I so hated the immature idiocy of both Romeo, and Juliet, made the story that much more ironically satisfying.
It might be a bit sadistic to say that I loved seeing two morons off themselves, but to be fair, I'm pretty certain the entire point of the play was to demonstrate the fallacy in obsession and uninformed emotion. Thus, it stands to reason that I'm supposed to enjoy seeing the two lead characters die, since not only were such suicides poignant of the consequences from being emotionally irresponsible, but they were also demonstrative of humanistic bad decision making. I find it innately fascinating that, in modern society, Romeo and Juliet are painted as two tragic yet romantic characters. In Hollywood, and various other outlets, these two people are seen as unfortunate souls, when in reality, it's patently obvious such characterizations were the antithesis of Shakespeare's most probable intent.
Aside from the more obvious example of Juliet's thirteen year age, which some may argue isn't so shockingly young, considering the era of story, there exist other indications of this play's intended tone. Romeo is too rash with his emotions, opening the play with his emotional romantic turmoil over someone NOT Juliet; that is to say, Rosaline. How quickly Romeo sheds his tortured grief the moment he spots Juliet confirms, in ways few examples could, the nonsensical state of his emotional radar. This aspect, too, is experienced by not just the hero of the play, for Juliet is guilty of such too, though, being young, her fault is marginally more understandable.
Interestingly, the theme of brash emotionalism is evident in other characters and plot elements, such as Nurse's sentimental hyperbole, as well as her flip-flop in voucher for Romeo. The feud between the Montague and Capulet houses, even, is a perfect exemplification of this story elemental message, for its fundamental existence underscores the dangers of high strung, ill advised immaturity. This theme is even seen in other, more gritty plot points, such as the death of Paris, Mercutio, and Tybalt. All three deaths resulted from emotion without consideration. Even the climatic moment of the play, the deaths of both lead characters illuminated this theme in the most dramatic and elemental way possible.
Aside from the messages peppered throughout this work of literature, the most amazing aspect to the play is its conceptualization. To say Shakespeare was a "good writer" is such a wilted praise that it's almost indubitably unnecessary. And, yet, Romeo and Juliet was the first work I had ever read that granted me the realization I need not like the characters, nor enjoy the plot points, to garner entertainment and appreciation for the work as a whole. It may sound corny, but the writing, the technical construction of the words in poetic format, the stress in the iambic pentameter, and the overall quality proves that a story need not be "good" to be a good story.(less)