- Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.
I think that “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’” is a perfect way to describe Romeo and Juliet’s love. Their ‘love’ is extremely impulsive and doesn’t involve any meetings in which they get to know each other and each other’s personalities. The suddenness of this relationship can be seen with the first thing that Romeo ever says to Juliet: “If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: / My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (1.5.93-96). Romeo proposes to kiss Juliet in the first words he ever says to her. However, it usually takes more than several seconds after meeting someone to get to this stage in a regular relationship. By the second time they meet, which is only several hours after the first meeting, Juliet is already setting an ultimatum for a marriage proposal: “If thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow, […] But if thou mean’st not well, / I do beseech thee – […] To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief.” (2.2.143-144, 150-151, l52). These children are planning a marriage only a few hours after meeting each other, which furthermore proves the impulsivity and unnatural speed of this relationship. The couple meets for a third time on the next day, this time to marry. In a regular relationship, people spend many months, if not years, getting to know a person before they decide to marry them because they want to be sure that they love that person. People must make sure that they truly understand and know a person that they are interested in before they can develop a love for that person. This is because many people hide certain details that might render them unlovable. Romeo and Juliet have little to no knowledge of each other’s personalities, characters and overall selves, and therefore don’t understand each other to the extent they need to, to love one another.
- To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/citation to your research at the end of your response.
Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is not effective. Teenagers in the sixteenth century, especially in wealthy families, didn’t do much work. Unlike in poorer families, in which double-digit families worked away on fields to provide enough food to last the winter, most of the work in a wealthy house was done by people like the Nurse or the Servant. This allowed teenagers in rich families to stay homeschooled and to have free time to participate in fun activities. With the lack of work, and surplus of schooling and careless fun, most of these teenagers still act like children: irresponsible and impulsive. We can see irresponsibility and impulsivity in several different points throughout the story, but one great example is at the very beginning of the book. “Draw if you be men. Gregory, remember thy smashing blow.” (1.1.60-61). The play begins with wealthy teenagers starting a fight that puts the people around them in the street at risk, themselves at risk and their family’s reputation and safety, as the prince later demonstrates, at risk. All this dispute happens over a bit thumb. This clearly demonstrates the childishness, impulsivity, and irresponsibility of wealthy teenagers at the time. This example shows how privileged adolescents, like Romeo and Juliet, act like children, and therefore should be treated like children, rendering Kulich’s argument ineffective.