Wait, Romeo and Juliet, that’s the one about love right? Yes, my friend, that is the one about love, but also it explores so much more. In the sixteenth century play, two rival clans, the Montagues, and the Capulets has a child, Romeo and Juliet, who fall helplessly in love with each other but are not permitted to be with each other and as a result of this, through an elaborate plan which backfires, ultimately each takes their own lives.
On a surface level, it is a story about love. But deeper down is the story’s true motifs, rejection of stereotypes. For example, when Romeo and Juliet come to the conclusion that they are from rival houses, this does not hinder their romance. They put their families’ differences behind them without even a thought. Juliet rebels against her father’s patriarchal control over her by refusing the arranged marriage he attempts to force upon her. Also, she is a renegade in the sense that she was ahead of her time in the ways of intellect. Juliet always thinks things through or has a plan. Her character beats the old fashioned notion of girls being simple creatures that act on a whim and can’t be logical into the ground. Friar Lawrence breaks the mood by telling Romeo to buy illegal drugs.
All around in this story, people are rejecting the stereotypes that others represent and rejecting the ones that they represent as well. Today, if we were collectively wise enough as a society to reject stereotypes, think of how much more in unison we would all be. Now, of all times, we should be looking past stereotypes. Over four hundred years ago Shakespeare wrote this revolutionary play about looking past stereotypes and some of us are too ignorant to get it through our skulls. Remember this, a stereotype is merely a figment of one’s imagination. The more you believe it, the more you put it in the forefront of your mind as you go through life, the more prevalent you make it. As the monster you thought was in your closet as a kid, the more you thought about it, the more real it seemed. The more you see the stereotypes, the more of a monster you become.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It is in your hands to create a better world for all those who live in it”
Treat others how you would like to be treated. Don’t be the monster in the closet that you were scared of as a kid.
Romeo and Juliet, and collective works of William Shakespeare, is available for checkout form the Mission Viejo Library.