How Artworks Stay Contemporary: Romeo and Juliet Essay Example

How can a play from hundreds of years ago still be relevant today? Works of art such as plays, poems, and books from hundreds of years ago are still important to a person’s life today. They can show the similarities or differences between people today and people hundreds of years ago. Likewise, the play Romeo and Juliet shows the relevance between people of the modern era and people from hundreds of years ago. It enables people to notice how teenagers of the modern world and teenagers of the sixteenth century are equally impulsive. It also shows that people had multi-family conflicts in the sixteenth century, which still occur in the twenty-first century. Romeo and Juliet maintains relevance to a modern audience because the characters are impulsive and because they have multi-family conflicts.

The teenage characters of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, are as impulsive as teenagers in the twenty-first century. When Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio sneak into the Capulet party, Tybalt becomes upset and exclaims that “this intrusion shall now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall” (I.v). Tybalt is very impulsive because he wants to fight Romeo just because he went to his party. This shows relevance to a modern audience because many teenage boys in the twenty-first century also resort to violence to solve their problems. When Romeo went to the Capulet party, he immediately fell in love with Juliet and wanted to marry her, so Friar Laurence exclaims how “Young men’s love lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes” (II.iii).

Because Romeo has instantly fallen in love with Juliet, it shows how he only cares what she looks like, this is also how a significant amount of teenagers think in the twenty-first century. Romeo and teenagers today are equally impulsive and fall in love based on appearance, which further develops relevance between teenagers today and teenagers during Shakespeare’s timeframe. When Juliet is told she will be forced to marry Paris on Thursday morning, she demands,” Delay this marriage for a month, a week. Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lies” (III.v). Juliet is impulsive and acts out of desperation. This is similar to what teenagers do today in an attempt to gain outcomes that are more beneficial for them, which creates a relevance between this play and a modern audience. The impulsivity of teenage characters in Romeo and Juliet helps reinforce the idea that this play is still relevant to modern day society.

Conflicts that are still relevant

There are several multi-family conflicts throughout this play, which still occur in the twenty-first century. After the Montagues and Capulets fight at the beginning of the play, the Prince announces that “Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, by thee, old Capulet, and Montague” (I.i). Because the Capulets and Montagues have not gotten any warnings from the authorities, they have continued their fighting between each other. This is relatable to a modern audience because an angry teenager would also continue fighting against a teenager from a different family since there would be no harsh punishments. When Tybalt is preparing to kill Romeo for coming to the Capulet party, he tells his Page to give him his sword, then he tells him that “By the stock and honor of [his] kin, to strike [Romeo] dead [he] hold it not a sin” (I.v). Tybalt is making up excuses to fight Romeo, just because he loathes who his family is.

This is relevant to a modern audience because modern teenagers often hold grudges against people just because of who their relatives are. While Juliet is on her balcony, she says to herself,” Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (II.ii). Because of the hate between the Montagues and Capulets, Juliet is unable to marry Romeo. In the twenty-first century, there are religious marriages where the child does not get to choose whom he or she marries, which furthermore proves the idea that this play is still relevant to a modern audience. The multi-family conflicts that are in both this play and the twenty-first-century help conclude that this play is still relevant to a modern audience.

While being hundreds of years old, the play, Romeo and Juliet, is still able to maintain relevance between people in the twenty-first century through the impulsiveness of teenagers and through multi-family conflicts. Teenagers today are still as impulsive as they were during Shakespeare’s time. Multi-family conflicts frequently occurred in the sixteenth century, and they still occur in the twenty-first century. The idea that Romeo and Juliet is still relevant to modern day society is proven with specific examples in Shakespeare’s play that are similar to what someone in the twenty-first century can witness. Old works of art such as plays, poems, and books can still be relevant to modern day society even if they are hundreds of years old.



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