Shakespeare’s forever famous play of young love, true love, and the tragedy that set forth by feuding families possesses more than can be taken in at a ninth grade level. That is when most high school students run through this dramatic classic piece, most likely because teachers believe that those age groups will associate better with this work than some of his others. When I was in ninth grade, I didn’t feel like I connected to this piece at all, the craze of it all and the random proclamations of love. Reading it at an older age and looking back on certain aspects, I can’t help but find Shakespeare’s acknowledgments of hormones humorous.
Act two is a great example of such overwhelming adolescent hormones! Romeo had been previously bursting and pining over Rosaline, his supposed true love whom he could not ever live without, and quickly (literally overnight) finds himself in a supposedly true passionate love with Juliet. The ridiculous switch is really more of an adolescent enamoring, at least at this current point in time. Shakespeare is showing the beginning stages of what could be love, one day. He uses Romeo and Juliet as pieces in the example of how young love is quite fickle and moves so easily to what best suits the hormonal desires.
Shakespeare uses Friar Lawrence as the character to react to the abruptness that these hormones create; he makes it more obvious where the audience’s rational opinions of this love should lie. His shock and frustration expose the reality of the seventeen-year-old’s sudden change of heart, “Young men’s love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes”, bringing forth the notion that physical attraction is all that guides young mens’ supposed love.
Part of, or most of, Romeo’s reasoning is truly priceless in the fact that his main reason it seems for switching his love (which he now claims was not actually) from Rosaline to Juliet is that Juliet reciprocates his feelings. So, basically, he sees himself having a better chance with Juliet now so he drops Rosaline flat. It seems to me that when people say that Shakespeare’s works are timeless, they’re really on track with that statement. Shakespeare has been painting the honest hilarity of hormones since his time and knew it was an endless truth, that young love is mostly guided by what kids that age believe to be love when it’s actually lust. The sad part is that what their lustful love brings can be sad and tragic because it’s so energized and new that they don’t know how to control what’s going on, and in that, what can look like a shining happy ending can turn into a tragic cautionary tale.