Romeo and Juliet is a story of love between two young souls that meets with ill fate.
The young Romeo and the beautiful Juliet belong to two families that are at war with each other and have bad blood that runs deep. This family feud, along with the noblemen of the city, forces Juliet’s father to promise his daughter’s hand in matrimony to another man of his choice. Now Romeo and Juliet’s secret marriage is bound to tear the couple apart and bring tragedy to the two families.
There is discord in opinions of many critics when it comes to deciphering the nature of young love, but it is widely agreed upon that love and sexuality make for the central theme of this play. The play gives a deep insight about the nature, gravity and extent of love that Romeo and Juliet had for each other while also points out how the social elite class of medieval age brought consequences for the two lovers. The connotations of sexuality in that age and the progress of characters from their youth to adulthood have also been portrayed to perfection.
Some might say that Romeo and Juliet shared a blind relationship – one that focused solely on gratifying the baser instincts while others declare it to be a story about young love at first sight. The cynic argues that instant love is often a manifestation of lust and takes roots from beauty rather than the depth of character and the level of emotional connection that the two lovers may have had for each other. It is highly likely that the love is not merely devoted to the flesh and blood but runs deeper and more intense, realistic, attainable and normal.
Regarding the familial feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, it is perhaps, the core reason that accounts for the disaster, heartbreak and the ultimate death of a young couple. Some critics might argue that this feud is symbolic and represents the larger and more pressing problems that the society presents to the couple and thus, can be held responsible for the tragedy that befalls them. The society in England as well as Verona is built on patriarchal authority and has no room for the kind of relationship that had emerged between Romeo and Juliet. It can be said that such a society can never let innocent lovers progress and be nurtured and often links sex with violence. The familial feud also put pressure on him to prove himself as worthy to his father by killing the members of the Capulet family.
The fact that Romeo is only seventeen or eighteen while Juliet is thirteen leads to a constant debate among the drama critics. How can it be possible for two adolescents to fall in love and make a vow to marry in the meager time of two hours? Is it possible to fall for someone without even talking to them? Is this a story of adolescent love or does it depict the hormone-driven lust in two adolescents? These are some of the questions that are frequently asked whenever Romeo and Juliet are discussed.