I feel that anyone who believes Romeo & Juliet is about some kind of Great and Timeless Love TM* needs to see this.
WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT THIS TODAY IN MY SHAKESPEARE CLASS.
If you go and actually read what Romeo says to Benvolio in the first scene, you will realize that he is only upset because HE WANTED ROSALINE’S BODY AND SHE SAID NO AND SO ROMEO WAS MOPING AND PITCHING A FIT ABOUT IT. Then, the second he lays eyes on Juliet, he’s basically saying
During the balcony scene, Romeo talks about how he scaled the wall of the garden to see Juliet. That is not romantic. That is disrespectful to her. This is a private area of the Capulet home, and Capulet built the wall around it to protect his daughter. This was a time when a woman’s virtue was the most important thing she owned. If Juliet was found with a man in this very private part of her home, everyone would think she was no longer a virgin, her reputation would be ruined, and it would be much harder, if not impossible, for her father to make a good marriage.
Speaking of good marriages, Count Paris is seen as the bad guy because he “comes between” Romeo and Juliet. Capulet had arranged for Paris to marry Juliet in 2 years time, when she would be 16, in a time when most women were already married and mothers by the time they were Juliet’s age at (almost but not quite) 14. Most fathers would have already had their daughters married by now, but he wants to wait two more years AND PARIS IS OKAY WITH THAT. Not only that, but Paris is young (her father could have had her married to a 60 year old man), titled (he’s a fucking Count), wealthy (again, he’s a count, which means Juliet will have financial stability), and, from what we see of him, he is a very good guy. Capulet could have done a LOT worse in choosing his son-in-law.
Finally, here’s something to consider: Juliet was 13, Romeo was 17. Their relationship lasted 3 days, defied their parents, and ended in the deaths of 6 people.
If I ever hear you say that Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story ever told, I will bitch slap you.
That is all.