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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Love

Romeo and Juliet might as well be a litmus test for your level of cynicism: are these crazy kids the two most romantic lovers in all of history—Bella and Edward before Bella and Edward—or are t...

Hate

If you've ever had a bad breakup, you know how quickly love can turn into something a lot less warm and fuzzy. In Romeo and Juliet, love and hate are just two sides of the same coin—both are inte...

Sex

Let's talk about sex. No, really: in the hormone-charged atmosphere of Romeo and Juliet, it seems that pretty much everything is about sex. Everything's a dirty joke, violence becomes eroticized, a...

Art and Culture

When the characters in Romeo and Juliet aren't making dirty jokes, they're speaking in perfect love sonnets.The famous balcony scene? Well, it's full of great lines that have since made their way i...

Youth

Kids these days. They don't respect their parents, they have no morals, and they just run around having sex and fighting. Sound familiar? Sure. It also sounded familiar in the 16th century, when Ro...

Transience

Talk about a whirlwind romance: Romeo and thirteen-year-old Juliet fall in love at first sight, marry within twenty-four hours, and die in each others' arms only days later. Is this basically the e...

Mortality

There's nothing sexier than contemplating your own mortality, right? Well, for Romeo and Juliet, the answer is … actually, yes. Death is never far in the background of Romeo and Juliet. The ancie...

Gender

There's more machismo in Romeo and Juliet than the worst stereotype of a football locker room. Romeo and Juliet uses malehonor—and male sexual posturing as comedy, but it also sets up the play's...

Fate and Free Will

We don't need to bother with a spoiler alert, because Shakespeare wants us to be spoiled. It goes out of its way to tells us that Romeo and Juliet are destined for tragedy: in the opening Prologue,...

Marriage

Romeo and Juliet marry for love. Duh, right? Not so much. In the world of Romeo and Juliet, marriage for love, rather than money or social position, is a radical and dangerous choice—particularly...

Family

In Romeo and Juliet, family means a lot more than a husband, wife, and 2.5 kids. "Family" means everyone from the head of the household down to the lowly servants—anyone who could possibly owe an...

Foolishness and Folly

Friar Laurence might warn Romeo to move "Wisely and slow—they stumble that run fast" (2.4.94), but nobody (including Friar Laurence) spends much time pausing to think in Romeo and Juliet. Love an...

Exile

In Romeo and Juliet, exile is a personal matter that becomes political: Romeo is banished for a private affair (revenge-killing Tybalt), in order to keep a public peace. And then that banishments e...

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