Noticing behavioral similarities between teenagers today and Romeo and Juliet can help gain a stronger understanding of the play. Significant parallels exist in Romeo and Juliet and most teens in the twenty-first century because both are impulsive, rebellious, and overdramatic.
Romeo and Juliet are impulsive, which is a trait seen in most modern day teenagers. When Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo immediately turns towards Tybalt and declares, “Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.”(3.1.27). In this quote, Romeo is telling Tybalt that he will either kill him, himself, or the both of them for Mercutio. Romeo then proceeds to kill Tybalt without thinking of the consequences of doing so. Romeo’s impulsivity is prominent here. He bases his entire decision on his current emotional state. Another example of this impulsive behavior is when Romeo realizes that he has upset Juliet and tells the Nurse, “Tell me, that I may sack/The hateful mansion.(He offers to stab himself, and NURSE snatches the dagger away…)”(3.3.107-108). Without hesitation, Romeo threatens to kill himself for Juliet. Again, he bases his actions completely on his current emotional state. Like Romeo, many teenagers “live in the moment” and choose to do whatever they feel, often completely disregarding the effect of their decisions on themselves or others.
Today, rebellion is common in teenagers all around the world as well as Romeo and Juliet. In an argument with her mother, Juliet tells her, “I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear/It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,/Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!”(3.5.122-124). In secret, Juliet and Romeo are both married, but Juliet’s parents want her to marry Paris. In the heat of the moment, Juliet tells her mother that she doesn’t want to marry anyone, but throws in the fact that she’d rather marry Romeo. Juliet makes a point to anger her mom, showing her rebellious side. Romeo definitely has a rebellious side as well. When Juliet hears him outside of her window and asks for Romeo’s name, he answers her with, “My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself/Because it is an enemy to thee./Had I it written, I would tear the word.” He tells Juliet that he hates his family name because his family is an enemy of her family. Given the opportunity, he’d like to change it and disown his family name due to his infatuation with her. This shows that Romeo is rebellious because he doesn’t care at all about making his family happy. Impressing his family is so unimportant to him that, in an instant, he is happy to completely separate himself from them. Aside from rebellion, selfishness is here as well. Modern day teenagers, for the most part, care only about themselves, and they don’t have a sensitive side towards authority figures. If anything, many teens get a rush by disobeying or angering authority, as seen in the interaction between Juliet and her mother.
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