We Revisited ‘Romeo And Juliet,’ And It’s Honestly Kind Of Problematic
There are a lot of so-called “classics” out there that, let’s face it, simply have not aged well. Whether it’s due to regressive attitudes about things like women and sexuality, or because it’s a play written in the late 16th century, we have to acknowledge that some of our most beloved stories don’t hold up to 2019 standards. In fact, we recently reread Romeo and Juliet, and we think you’ll be shocked by just how offensive it truly is. The people of 1597 should be ashamed.
First and foremost, Juliet is only 13 years old. That’s much too young to be talking about marriage, especially since Romeo is implied to be way older than her (not to mention, the power dynamic there would likely be way out of whack). Why is that considered so romantic, again? Go date someone your own age, you creep! In the end, Juliet should be celebrating that she’s finally rid of her mentally unbalanced stalker, not despairing over losing him! Get back to your life, girl!
And speaking of characters getting killed, all those sword fights are just, like … yikes.
What lessons are modern readers going to take away from all that stabbing? That you can solve all your problems with violence? #TOXIC_MASCULINITY at its worst.
However, it’s Juliet’s suicide where Shakespeare (or should we say, Shamespeare) really drops the ball. Seriously, let’s get this straight: All the problems in your community will just go away and get better if you kill yourself? Wow, what a great ending, Will. Way to endorse the idea that the world would be better off without you and your troubles. Maybe that’s what people believed in the 16th century, dude—but did you ever stop to think what people believe today?
Honestly, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface here. We could keep foregoing nuanced contextual criticism and voice our irrational outrage about a 420-year-old text for hours. But frankly, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet isn’t even the worst offender here. So check back next week when we revisit Ovid. Because wow, he thinks women want to do what with a swan? Yeah right, you old dead pervert.
Image: Twentieth Century Fox