Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.
Based on our readings, I believe that Romeo and Juliet, while not engaging in puppy love, are infatuated rather than truly being in love. Montague reveals to Paris, one of Juliet’s suitors, that she “is yet a stranger in the world [and] hath not seen the change of fourteen years” while Romeo is around seventeen (1.2.8,9). I think that true love at these ages, while highly unlikely, may be possible. It’s the circumstances in which this “love” of Romeo and his fair Juliet came to be that makes me question the reality of their feelings. Prior to Juliet, Romeo professes his love for Rosaline, a Capulet who swears to never marry. Following the Capulet ball where Romeo first lays eyes on Juliet, his friend Mercutio calls for him, saying “I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes, by her high forehead and her scarlet lip… that in thy likeness thou appear to us!” (2.1.17-21). Still believing the claims of love and commitment Romeo made to Rosaline, even his closest friends Mercutio and Benvolio think that she is the only girl in Romeo’s life. His ability to wholely forget her and suddenly transfer the totality of his feelings to Juliet makes the new relationship seem superficial and baseless. When he stumbles upon Juliet’s balcony where, lo and behold, the thirteen-year-old girl is professing her feelings for Romeo, he breaks into a soliloquy about Juliet’s beauty. His lust for Juliet is evident when he says “her vestal livery is but sick and green, and none but fools do wear it; cast it off” because he essentially wants to take her virginity even though they met only hours prior (2.2.8,9). The sole things he knows about her are that she’s beautiful and a Capulet, and I don’t believe real love can be borne out of such superficial knowledge.
To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/citation to your research at the end of your response.
Kulich argues that Romeo and Juliet were physically and mentally mature enough to engage in what they believed was love. It’s true that in the 15th century when Romeo and Juliet is speculated to take place, marriage typically occurred between girls in their teens and men in their early twenties. The marriages were typically arranged and women never had a choice in the matter, making Juliet a rare case. Ethos, logos, and pathos are often utilized to make effective arguments. By providing a personal story, Kulich is giving credibility, explaining how their life experiences connect to the point they’re trying to make. Logos and pathos aren’t as prevalent in the argument, and that opens it up to more speculation. Why tell of your own experience in the 1940s when you could just as easily give information directly related to the time period of the play? By not giving more concrete evidence about marriage and relationships in the 15th century or appealing more to the reader’s emotions, Kulich’s argument fell a little flat. The information provided is historically accurate and relevant, but in order to truly believe the argument, you have to fill in the blanks on your own.