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Romeo and Juliet

What is the moral of Romeo and Juliet?

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August 04, 2011 12:13AM

Romeo and Juliet is a play, not a sermon or one of Aesop's fables. Shakespeare did not intend for it to have a "moral", only to entertain. People who watch plays tend to find their own ideas reflected in the play, and so take away their own preconceived notions. Some of the ideas people project into Romeo and Juliet are:

There is more to love than lust. Romeo and Juliet did not take the time to get to know each other and form a deep intimate relationship. They rushed into their relationship. They were also very young to be experiencing love. Even people much older than them do not know what love means. It may have really been true love that was mutually felt by both of them though. (Alternatively: There is more to love than money. Romeo and Juliet had true love; it was Capulet's insistence on an arranged marriage for Juliet that did them in)

Labels mean nothing- Their last names of Capulet and Montague were mere labels, yet these names were what almost kept the two apart. But love saw through that, as Romeo and Juliet saw each other in secrecy and got married. Love sees no barriers. (Alternatively: Labels are important. In thinking that they could ignore the misfortune of their last names, Romeo and Juliet were refusing to face social reality, which caused their doom)

Listen to advice- If the families had listened to the Prince of Verona and made peace, then Mercutio and Tybalt would not have died. If Romeo and Juliet would have listened to the advice given to them by the Friar then they would not have died so young. The Friar cautioned them about acting hasty and irrational. But instead the star-crossed lovers meet the fate of death. (Alternatively: Don't listen to advice. It was the Friar's cockamamie plan that caused the trouble. Should Juliet have taken the Nurse's advice and married Paris? Seriously? Juliet needed to get away from all of these people giving her bad advice and making plans for her life by trying to marry her to a man she didn't even know)

Don't seek revenge- The families sought revenge for things that did not even involve them and happened years ago. They needed to forgive and forget. Yet when both parties are stubborn it takes the death of two young lovers for them to realize that their actions were wrong. Tybalt called Romeo a villain and dared him to fight. With his refusal Mercutio began to fight Tybalt to defend the family name. Romeo tries to stop them, but it is too late when Tybalt kills Mercutio. In anger and guilt Romeo than retaliates and catches Tybalt. In Romeo's rashness Tybalt dies. (Except of course that Tybalt is not really a Capulet, being related to Lady Capulet rather than her husband, and Mercutio is not a Montague and shouldn't give two pins whether Romeo backs away from Tybalt. It's not his family name that is at issue here. The people who get most excited about the feud have no stake in it)

Don't act hastily- This involves the manner in which Romeo and Juliet acted. They should have thought things through first before they jumped into matrimony. Matrimony is a lifetime thing and not just a teenage phase. (Alternatively, strike while the iron is hot, and make hay while the sun shines. There was nothing wrong with them going with the certainty of their love for each other, but they needed to follow it through. They needed to tell their parents and everybody, and if this means living in a trailer court in Mantua, so be it. It's their hesitation to reveal the truth of things that causes the trouble. What if Romeo had said to Tybalt, "I can't fight you because you're my cousin." or Juliet had told her father, "I can't marry Paris because I'm already married to the only son of this incredibly rich guy."? Procrastination was their problem, not haste.)