Into the Book

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When I first found out I had to read this play for school, I admit I was a little disappointed. I was expecting a little more out of my literature course. Once I picked it up, though, I realized my groans had been in vain. If you look deep in the lines, through the old English and Shakespearean vocabulary, you find an amazing story.

In the book there are several hidden truths, even though Shakespeare probably did not intend to slip them in. For example, as it says in I Timothy: ‘The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.’ We see this truth presented in the feud between the Capulets and Montagues. For what reason do they fight and quarrel? In the play, both the Capulets and Montagues are of equal social status and wealth. They both lust for more power and riches, thus they fight amongst themselves.

There are many other good elements as well, but more overpowering and at the surface are things to be wary of. A very obvious example is the simple fact that Juliet is simply too young to be living the life that she did with Romeo. Romeo and Juliet were merely attracted by each other’s beauty. If they had been married and lived together, they would have found life very difficult to live with each other, for they never truly loved the other person. They loved the beauty. This is evidenced with Romeo’s claims at the beginning of the text that he loves Rosaline. What happens when he sees Juliet? He abandons Rosaline and immediately decides that he no longer loves Rosaline, but instead claims he loves Juliet. Shakespeare makes no attempt to show this as ‘wrong’, so he in essence teaches us that love is about being picture perfect.

Last, but not least, all the problems at the end are resolved without Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate Savior. Neither Capulet nor Montague repent and turn to Jesus, instead they repent and turn to each other for comfort. If you are looking for a simple form of entertainment, I suggest that you read it. Keep a dictionary close at hand, and maybe a Shakespeare-to-English translator. However, be wary of its suggestive themes and touchy subjects.


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Published on 9 November, 2010. Last updated on

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  1. Slightly Opinionated Nerd

    I’ve had to study this play too, and I did not at all enjoy it. Not really being someone who enjoys romance anyway, I was quite horrified at how young Romeo and Juliet were and all the rude jokes that passed between Romeo and his friends. It saddened me how the young ‘lovers’ thought that the only paradise was with one another; that the only true love they could find was in someone good looking. It saddened me that they thought their erotic ‘love’ was the best thing they had ever experienced, and that they never found the true love God could give them that is so much more real and substantial than some teenage fantasy.
    You make a good point that Romeo and Juliet fell in love with each others’ beauty rather than each other. I was very much of the same opinion when I read the book.
    Overall, I think that caution is needed when reading this play, as there are many worldly influences in it that are not at all Christian we need to be wary of.

  2. Caleb Joyce

    Yes, that is another thing. I did not appreciate all of the trash talk that went around. Even though it is set awhile ago, that is still unacceptable for people of that age. And they also seemed like adults shoved into kid bodies. Half of the time I forgot that they were supposed to be young, and I thought I was reading about maybe people in their thirties based on the long and in-depth monologues. Too much for a 15 year old to whip up.

    Caleb Joyce

  3. Anonymous

    This is a very enlightening review! I find your last remark about how the families solved their problems without Jesus to be quite compelling! One will always find resolve in Christ the King!
    I too was required to read this as a school assignment, and I found myself enjoying it more than expected. The youth of the characters was shocking at first, but I later came to understand that people fell in love and moved along in life much quicker in that era… due to the fact that the average life span back then was not as long as it is today. That also explained much of the trash talk and dirty humor, though I was still not at all pleased when I came across it. I thought of it like this: while Romeo and Juliet were around 15 years old in their time period, today they would be in their mid 20’s.
    The one thing I really did not like about this book was how quickly Romeo and Juliet “fell in love.” As I read, I questioned myself many times. Could what they had truly be love at first sight (if there is such a thing) or do they just lust after eachother? I came to the conclusion that their “love” was merely a superficial thing.
    As a Catholic, I do believe that many of the actions described in the play were innapropriate and unacceptable. However, I take it as a learning experience. The lessons learned by the end of the book are some pretty good ones! Kind of like a “don’t do what they did!” message! For a book to be good, there has to be some sort of conflict(s), and this one just had a few more intense ones than average!
    I suppose I would suggest this to a friend, but I would advise that person to keep his or her Christian mind on the front line, ready to seperate the good from the bad and the right from the wrong!

    ~Carrie

  4. Caleb Joyce

    Amen to your first paragraph. 😉
    That is very true, and the times at which it was written, some of the dirty parts of it had not yet evolved to the state that they are in today in being so dirty. But still, that’s not to say that we aren’t to handle them with care, definitely. I would also agree with you about how they ‘fell in love.’ Like I said in the review, they were merely attracted by the beauty of the other person. To me, love is a decision that you make after you have spent lots of time around a person and appreciate their morals and personality, but unfortunately too often the beauty of somebody strongly effects that decision. I do appreciate that the fact they slept together was implied, but I would’ve preferred it had been left out.

    Thanks for replying!!
    Caleb, for all of ITB

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