1:

Love requires a connection on the emotional level. Based off our readings of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet so far, I agree with Jindra Kulich that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is an example of puppy love. Every interaction between Romeo and Juliet so far in the story has involved compliments and commentary on physical features of the two characters. These physical actions may lead to a feeling of love and happiness but as there is no established emotionally based connection, Romeo and Juliet’s relationship can not be classified as anything other than love at first sight, which is, in my opinion, a myth. Upon first seeing Juliet, Romeo states: “O she doth teaches the torches to burn bright!(…) Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear” which is basically a long description of her physical beauty. (1. 5. 44-53) this is only to be expected, as Romeo has only just seen Juliet and he cannot compliment what he doesn’t know about her. However, when we move onto their wedding vows which take place after a few passionate interactions with one another, we see that Romeo’s vow follows a very similar trajectory to his first words about her. Romeo says “Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy be heap’d like mine (…) unfold the imagined happiness that both receive in either by this dear encounter” in which he compliments her voice, physical characteristics, and how happy she makes him. (2. 6. 24-29) When you fall in love with someone, you fall in love with who they are. In the story neither Romeo or Juliet show any knowledge of the other character’s likes, dislikes, wants or fears, or anything about them, other than one, they make them happy, and two, they are beautiful. Based on this evidence, because only physical affection and infatuation with appearances are shown, we can infer that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is not one of true love, but one of infatuation or puppy love.

 

2:

In the Renaissance, people led different lives than we do today and because of this, I agree with Jindra Kulich’s statement that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children During the Renaissance children generally began to be considered adults around the age of fourteen. It is established that Romeo is older than Juliet, and there is little debate over how his age should be perceived, but the same cannot be said for Juliet. In the original poem that Romeo and Juliet is based on, The tragical history of Romeus and Juliet By Arthur Brook, Juliet is sixteen years old. When adapting the poem to his play, Shakespeare changed that age to thirteen, as seen when Capulet states that “ [Juliet] hath not seen the change of fourteen years” in an attempt to dissuade Paris’s proposal. (1. 2. 9)  however, Juliet’s age does little to prevent her from falling in love with Romeo, showing that she has emotional maturity beyond her years. In addition, Shakespeare wouldn’t have been able to popularize a story of two young children killing themselves, nor would it still be told today. In fact, it is quite common for Juliet to be played by an older actress, which again shows how little her age matters. If Shakespeare had meant Juliet’s age to be of great importance, it is very unlikely that the outcome of his play would be the same as that of Brooke’s poem, death. Shakespeare alludes to a woman’s age not being of great concern when Paris states that “younger than [Juliet] are happy mothers made” and though Paris isn’t the most popular character in the play, we as an audience can take him as an accurate example of what life in that time period was like. (1. 2. 12) All in all, Juliet’s age was a choice made by Shakespeare that overall had no effect on her eventual death. If Shakespeare had intended Juliet to be viewed as a child it would make more sense as a writer to show her as a child who is uneager to marry or fall in love. Based on the fact that, Juliet’s age has little to do with the outcome of the plot, and that she is portrayed a mature character, I believe thatwe should view both Romeo and Juliet’s characters as adults.

 

Sources:

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/brookes-romeus-and-juliet

https://www.123helpme.com/childhood-during-the-english-renaissance-view.asp?id=156572

http://2013.playingshakespeare.org/generation-gap.html