Katie G's Reviews > Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2014-book-list, classics, love-triangle-mmf, friendship, gender-studies, magical-realism, play, religion, romance

I'll be honest: I hated this play when I was in high school. I thought the characters were stupid and the plot was unrealistic. To be fair, that's still true. Romeo is in his late teens, and he's in love with a girl who doesn't love him back, and just hours after he says he'll never see anyone as beautiful as Rosaline, he falls in love with Juliet, who's only 13. Within about 12 hours of meeting each other, they've gotten married. They've known each other for less than a week by the time they kill themselves. It's incredibly unrealistic and stupid.

And yet I still like it because there's so much more to it than that. If we get away from the stupid romance, we can see that it's also a criticism of religious hypocrisy. The friar agrees to marry them not because he thinks they're in love but because he wants to be the one to end the feud. He's constantly thinking only of himself and only tells the truth when he has no other option.

It also shows the danger of seeking revenge, no matter how justified that revenge might seem. It makes readers think about which is more dangerous, poison or money. It allows people to debate whether fate or irresponsible decisions led to the deaths of the title characters. It also brings up great questions about gender stereotypes, as Romeo is continually scolded for acting like a girl, and Juliet behaves in ways generally thought of as more "manly."

If you read this play hoping to find a great love story, you'll probably be disappointed. If you read it more critically, though, you'll find a lot of great things to discuss.

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Reading Progress

June 24, 2012 – Shelved
January 13, 2014 – Started Reading
January 21, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 23, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014-book-list
January 23, 2014 – Shelved as: classics
January 23, 2014 – Shelved as: love-triangle-mmf
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: friendship
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: gender-studies
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: magical-realism
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: play
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: religion
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: romance

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