The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Is Romeo & Juliet Still Relevant?

Lauren Blok
Students often argue about their feelings regarding Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo & Juliet: A Timeless Classic

Every freshman at Benilde-St. Margaret’s is required to read what’s considered a classic staple of literature: William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I read this during my freshman year and had a lot of fun discussing the play with my classmates and trying to find out what was happening. Even though it’s sometimes hard to read, Romeo and Juliet is a fun play and something that should continue to be read by students.

When my class was reading it, we’d take turns playing the different characters in class. We didn’t act out every scene, but the ones we did act out were fun. I played Tybalt when he killed Mercutio and then got to die dramatically when Romeo stabbed me. We had fake swords and also a crown for the king.

As well as acting out parts of the play, we watched the movie (a stage version, and then, more importantly, the Leonardo DiCaprio version) in class, which helped me understand a lot of Shakespeare’s language. Many people refuse to read Shakespeare because of the confusing figurative language, allusions, and different syntax than we have now. While I agree that it’s very hard to read just the play, that’s not how it’s supposed to be done. You’re supposed to watch it; Romeo and Juliet was written for the stage. Between watching it and talking through it with my class, I understood the play better than I could have on my own.

I also liked the theme of the play, “star-crossed lovers”, and how it was implemented throughout the story. However, the characters weren’t the smartest people that ever lived. The problem could have been solved if they took a little bit more time to communicate. However, even though Romeo and Juliet made very dumb decisions at times, I liked the story and how it could be applied to life today.

While there might not be endless lifelong family feuds (though sometimes there still are), people still hold grudges for a long time and often don’t like to forgive others. I think it can be an important lesson about communication and that staying mad at people forever won’t solve any problems. 

Overall, I liked Romeo and Juliet because of its plot and relevance to our modern world, and the fun I had acting it out in English class. I think high schoolers should continue to read the play and hope they will enjoy it as much as I did. 

Romeo & Juliet: An Outdated Play

At BSM, it is a requirement for all freshmen to read Romeo and Juliet. It is a controversial book which makes some people love it, however, I am not a fan of this book for many reasons.

First off, Juliet's father still is in control of her life. I’m not saying that paternal control never happens to females anymore, but Juliet had an extreme case of it. Juliet couldn’t go anywhere without the permission of her father. She couldn’t even go to confession without asking first. He single-handedly controlled her entire faith which is truly evil. Not to mention, he also controlled her love life, which was the entire base of the story. 

I also thought that the story was hyped up way too much. Many different people were saying that there is a crazy love story between the two main characters. The plot wasn’t as crazy as people made it out to be. It was basically two people who fall in love against the wishes of their families, and then they both kill themselves in the end because of conflict. There really wasn't much else to it. I mean sure there were multiple pages trying to broaden the plot of the story, but they didn’t do much.

I didn’t appreciate the conflict between the families during the story. They hated each other, and I didn’t understand the reason why. It was so confusing to me why they couldn’t set their differences aside to make their children happy. They talk about how awesome their children are yet don’t even care about their feelings. If you care about your children on the outside, you should care about them on the inside as well. But they don’t because they focus on hating other families instead of loving their own first. It was just a confusing plot to me, and I thought that it could have been written out better.

Romeo and Juliet are also airheads. They couldn’t find a way to be together long-term. Yes, they figured out a way to be together short term which was getting married, but they didn’t think about the future. When putting so much effort into a plan, most people make sure that it will work out forever, but they didn't because they don’t think ahead. I think that Romeo and Juliet's not thinking about the future partly comes from their young age. They are both so young and live life in a spur-of-the-moment style. That wasn’t good, because they both ended up dead.

In the end, I was not a fan of Romeo and Juliet, and do not recommend it. This is because the plot wasn’t carried out in a way that made sense to me, therefore I didn’t enjoy my time reading it.

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