If you put teens today into elegant dresses and tights and taught them how to speak without slang, they could fit right into William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet’s inner emotions and psychology are so similar to teens today that with a quick wardrobe change, no one would be able to differentiate between the two. Although society has changed immensely over the course of 400 years, contemporary teens’ emotions, behaviors, and attitudes have remained almost identical to the two Renaissance lovers’.
The similarities between Romeo and Juliet and teens today are fascinating. The first and most obvious similarity is their recklessness. Romeo and Juliet make decisions quickly and without thinking. In the play, they get married after only knowing the other for a mere day. Teens today also make rash decisions such as doing drugs. Another parallel between the two is their rebelliousness towards their parents. Romeo and Juliet defy their parents by conversing with the “enemy.” They also lie to their parents about where they are going. Teens today also defy their parents by sneaking out to a party or lying that they are at a friends house when they are really somewhere else. The two are also alike in their relationships. When Romeo first meets Juliet, he tells her how beautiful she is, but he never talks about her personality. He loved with his eyes before he loved with his heart. Teens today also love with their eyes when they get into a relationship with another person just for looks. The fourth and final similarity is how teens go to their friends and companions for advice before they go to their parents. Romeo confides in Benvolio and Mercutio when he is upset. Teens today will go to a friend to ask about whether or not they should ask out a crush.
Despite these similarities, there are still many differences that set Romeo and Juliet apart from teens today. The first and most distinct difference is their language. Romeo and Juliet converse in a very formal and sophisticated manner. For example, in Act 1, Scene 5, Romeo says, “Did my heart love till now… For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” On the other hand, teens today speak in an ordinary and basic fashion, and they often use slang such as “lit” or “fam”. Another major difference is marriages and love. In Romeo and Juliet’s time, people got married very young. People were often arranged into marriages as well. Today, people don’t get married until after college, and almost everyone marries for love. The final difference is communication. Romeo and Juliet could only talk to each other face-to-face or through letters. Teens today can communicate online through texts. They often don’t have to face the person in real life.
These similarities and differences may seem like they have no correlation, but there is an underlying pattern. The similarities are due to emotional and physiological changes while the differences are due to cultural and external changes.
After almost 400 years of change, modifications, and adjustments, modern-day teens have stayed almost identical to teens of the Renaissance. While today’s society is burdened by stress, technology, and everyday pressure, the basic human instincts still exist. Feelings of love, separation, and a wanting to belong are present in both teens of today and teens from 400 years ago. Their inner emotions and psychology are so similar that with a quick wardrobe change and an english lesson, no one would be able to set Romeo and Juliet apart from teens of today.
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