The real irony in the inevitable "Romeo and Juliet
" comparison is that the play has been taught to high-school
students as an example of how wrong parents
can be, whereas interior evidence suggests that it's the two principals who are wrong -- the tragic flaw here is that they're (at 13) old enough to fall in love
(or a simalcrum thereof) but not old enough to think out the consequences of their choices. The way this is set up is interesting: he's on the rebound from another girl, she's just old enough to start thinking on her own (with a prime example of independence --her Nurse-- practically joined to her hip) and wants to assert it at the first chance she gets. (It's interesting that we never get to see what Count Paris is like...for all we know, he's perfect for her.) Both of them have been nurtured on courtly love
, with the notion that a forbidden love is worth more than one duly sanctioned by God and Law (Le Morte d'Arthur
is apposite here) and therefore, whatever they do is going to be all right, since they loooooove
Listen, do you really think that the two families aren't going to keep feuding? This isn't 20th century America, where Julie 'n' Rom go off to a nice little love nest in Leavittown, where she hangs out diapers while he goes off to work at Montague Bank & Trust. She's going to be seen (by his family) as a whore who suckered him into marrying her, and he's going to be seen (by her family) as a rapist, or at least a seducer who destroyed their chances to see her marry into the nobility. They're still both dead from the minute they laid eyes on each other, which is why it's a tragedy...a shared marriage won't cure this, only shared grief.