Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
Romeo and Juliet is not a cautionary tale about young love
Most people often view Romeo and Juliet as a story with the message “listen to your parents.” I think the complete opposite it true. There’s a lot of evidence that suggests the story was meant to be more of a warning to parents, and to the audience, about the negative effects of arranged marriage. I think that Shakespeare was in fact a supporter of companionate marriage. Reading Romeo and Juliet from this perspective gets us away from the mindset that high school teachers force upon us. It’s not just a tale of warning in the form of a love story about two dumb teenagers, it’s a story that takes on the old (depending on culture and geography) practice of arranged marriage (and the patriarchy!). Somebody should explore this further; change someone’s mind about Shakespeare, particularly Romeo and Juliet.