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Sorry, English Teachers. Romeo & Juliet is Overrated

The classic play isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
In Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare presents a twisted version of what romance is meant to be.

Shakespeare is one of the most influential people on Earth. He introduced over 1,700 words in the English language and inspired many books and movies like The Hunger Games, The Lion King, West Side Story, and so on..…One of his most popular works is Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy based in Italy. There are two families, the Montagues and Capulets, who hate each other a lot. Romeo, from the Montagues, meets Juliet, from the Capulets, and they fall in love. At the end of the story, Romeo and Juliet kill themselves as a result of that love.

The main problem isn’t Shakespeare using old modern English. It is the story and the characters that are the problem.

The characters in this play are either forgettable or they are just bad. Tybalt is a flat character. All he wants is bloodshed. He never thinks about the consequences that will happen because of fighting because at the end of the day the story takes only three days. Tybalt gets no backstory or flash back. When Romeo kills Tyblt, the audience can’t feel anything because he wasn’t developed.

Tybalt, Benvolio, and Mercutio are the only three characters that are important to the story beside the main characters. Mercutio is a good friend to Romeo and he helps Romeo get over Rosaline and he helps Romeo go to the Capulet party and he starts the story. It is a shame that he dies early on .

Benvolio is the moral compass of the story. He helps Romeo to decide what is right or wrong. He is reasonable and calm. He tries to find the middle ground that can make everyone happy. Mercutio does the same thing as Benvolio except Mercutio got the short end of the stick as he was killed by Tybalt. Benvolio defends Romeo in one of the best speeches in all of fiction, saving Romeo.

What does Benvolio get for his trouble? Romeo kills himself. Benvolio could easily confort Romeo. Romeo was obsessed with Rosaline but he never killed himself because Benvolio and Mercutio were there. It is a shame Benvolio didn’t get anything in return for saving Romeo.

But the main problem with this story is that the main characters are bad. Romeo at first is a reasonable man and a bit of a troublemaker but when he sees Juliet he only thinks about her. His entire personality is based on Juliet and Juliet based her entire personality on Romeo.

There is a short arc about her cousin. After Romeo kills Tyblat Juliet is in a moral dilemma. Should she accept Romeo killing Tybalt or hate him for killing Tybalt? This part is good, but she forgets about it when Romeo goes into exile.

After that she goes back to obsessing over Romeo. Juliet comes up with a brilliant plan. She takes a liquid that slows her heart down so she looks like she is dead so Romeo can come in and help Juliet escape with him. As you know the plan backfires and the climax is forced upon the audiences. We do see a fight between County Paris and Romeo but that is a short lived fight. He kills himself thinking that Juliet is dead. Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo dead so she kills herself and the story ends.

This defining character moment feels so forced. Romeo could just wait for Juilet to get up, but no he is blinded by love to the point it becomes an obsession. It is not like true love because true love isn’t about killing yourself for someone else. , But Romeo is so obsessed with Juliet that he kills himself after seeing Juliet in a deep sleep. Juilet does the same as Romeo, which is a stupid decision. This feels unreasonable and forced just to make the audience sad.

It is not like Romeo is a likable character. He stalks Juliet and Juliet is ok with that? Romeo’s behavior in this play is straight up creepy. He stalks Juliet to her house and asks if he can come up there and be with Juliet. This play tries to act like this is a harmless situation but what if Juliet doesn’t like Romeo?

Times are different and this style of love is outdated.

Back in the day relationships were different. Now, we see this as creepy but back in the day this was seen as cute. The main issue I have here is how people romanticize Romeo’s and Juliet relationship. Times are different and this style of love is outdated. Romeo and Juilet would not fit in the modern world, but many authors are doing this, which is annoying.

Stalking is a big issue and no one likes to be stalked, but Shakespeare makes stalking like a romantic thing. It is not romantic to see a stalker stalking someone just because he loved her. That is a problem. It never gets addressed throughout the play. Tyablt sees Romeo’s creepy behavior and he could peacefully resolve the conflict but instead he challenges Romeo in a duel.

Another big issue is the romanticizing of obsession. Romeo and Juilet is not a love story. It is an obsession story. Romeo’s actions are driven by his obsession with Juliet. Romeo will take decisions that will only benefit his obsession with Juilet. Why would he kill himself? It’s because of his obsession with Juilet. Romeo could try and live with the pain, but no. He has to kill himself to be with Juilet.

Juliet is not better. She is just a princess that is in distress. Juliet does nothing but be the main motivation of Romeo. The only notable thing she did was make a plan where she goes into a deep sleep but that plan backfired creating a forced ending.

Juliet is nothing but a tool and it is a shame because this type of character is used in a lot of romance media. The love interest is nothing but a tool and their only motivation is the hero of the story. This is unrealistic and outdated. Women are more than objects but in this play and other romance media they are seen as objects.

Juilet does nothing important besides making a plan to escape from her parents but that’s it. Juliet just sits there talking about how much she loves Romeo and how much she doesn’t want to marry County Paris. When readers get to see her personality, she acts like Romeo is the Knight in shining armor. She needs Romeo to do anything. Most of the actions that happen throughout the play are driven by Romeo. Juliet is just there to say yes to all of Romeo’s actions.

This love story doesn’t feel developed because it was three days. Three days isn’t a lot of time. How can you develop a love story in three days? You can’t Romeo and Juliet create a messy story that is dramatic for the sake of being dramatic.
Three days isn’t long enough to develop this story. This story is pointless because it happens in three days. We don’t get to see character development because they only appear for three, two, or one day. If we want to feel attached to the characters we must know more about them. We never get to know about them because it happens in a short period of time.

Romeo and Juliet. A love story that killed six people in three days. A story too messy. It is amazing how this story is so popular. The characters are awful except for Benvolio. The characters ruin the story.

No matter how good your plot is, if you have bad characters it ruins the book. That’s what Romeo and Juliet suffers from. Bad character writing and the story being short. Three days isn’t enough to develop these characters. Not even the best writers can do that. The problem that I and many others have is how this book is upheld as being a classic romance play, but when you look at the romance in Romeo and Juilet you can see it is outdated. This is why Romeo and Juliet is overrated.

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About the Contributor
Karthik Ramadugu
Karthik Ramadugu, Staff Writer
Saikrishna Karthikeya Ramadugu is a sophomore. Karthik is on the speech and debate team and he likes to play funny map games. If you have a longer name than him, then good luck.

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