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Romeo and Juliet.

I can't take Romeo and Juliet seriously.

I don't know if anyone else has this problem. It could be that I am the only person out there who, when Romeo appears on stage (or on page) and begins his whiny dialogue of rejection, wants to laugh at him. after laughing at him, I then want to kick Romeo a bit so that he'll shut the fuck up and leave, allowing the slightly more interesting characters to take centre stage. But he doesn't. He stays, and as the play continues, it becomes more and more evident to me that Romeo isn't interested in love at all, but rather is listening to his dick, and chasing the almighty teen lust, and that every time he stands and talks about the sun and the moon and the teenager he wants to fuck, that he's simply terribly self absorbed and really quite shallow and that it has been done this way on purpose.

It could be that time has simply changed the meaning of Romeo and Juliet, but these days, I can't help but think of the play as anything but a black comedy about teen angst and love.

Maybe it's just me, though.

Comments

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burntcopper
Feb. 27th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC)
:g: many agree with you. It's one of my favourite plays, but the whole point about it is that Romeo is a classic teenage boy being led around by his dick, and the rest is just teenagers.
benpeek
Feb. 27th, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC)
it's not my favourite play by a long shot, not even my favourite shakespeare... i'm not sure what my favourite shakespeare is, though. but it's kinda baffling that they teach it as the great romantic tragedy, and that they had this oh so amazing love. but then maybe it's like pirates: no hooks, no burying treasure, just things gettign out of hand...

maybe romeo and juliet should've been pirates.
burntcopper
Feb. 28th, 2004 08:54 am (UTC)
:g: romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter, the original title...
benpeek
Feb. 28th, 2004 10:52 pm (UTC)
...that's not real by any chance, is it?
burntcopper
Feb. 29th, 2004 05:24 am (UTC)
heh. unfortunately not. It's a running gag in Shakespeare in Love that that's the title of Shakespeare's new play.
benpeek
Feb. 29th, 2004 02:43 pm (UTC)
ah, shakespeare in love. i've seen that. yes. i can even vaguely remember someone saying that... geoffrey rush?
switchknitter
Feb. 27th, 2004 10:49 am (UTC)
It's not just you. Hell, even when I first read the play (age 14), I thought Romeo was a typical teenaged idiot and Juliet obviously had no idea how to properly react to a doomed schoolgirl crush. (You're supposed to write bad poetry, listen to sad music, and read Francesca Lia Block novels. Silly girl!) Alternatively, she could have gone to her parents and used the age-old teenage-girl trick of whining until she got her way, but I suppose Shakespeare thought that a 45-minute scene of nothing but "But Mooooooommmm, I luuuuuv him!" would send the audience away in droves.

Ack. I think I'm channelling Mari Ness today... *grin*
benpeek
Feb. 27th, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC)
hmm. forty five minutes of juliet going, 'but muuuuuuuuuum, i luuuuv him,' is kinda appealing to me...

i could make a movie about that. i could cut out romeo totally!
ashamel
Feb. 27th, 2004 08:08 pm (UTC)
I've heard the play described as the ultimate ode to puppy love. They're only 14, it's not supposed to mean anything profound...

Modern cinema has much the same problem, sort of. As someone said of, um, that remake of Dangerous Liaisons with SM Gellar in it... the original was a meditation on love, commitment and betrayal, but the same actions performed by teenagers makes it just a bunch of spoiled brats who haven't worked out what they're doing with their lives. Of course, I suspect Bill had different motives than just trying to appeal to a certain demographic (but then, maybe he didn't).
benpeek
Feb. 27th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
lets not forget that cruel intentions was also a bad film.
ashamel
Feb. 27th, 2004 08:56 pm (UTC)
Ah, that's what it was called, and yes, you're right. (Though I didn't mind it too much, possibly not for rigourously literary reasons.)

But I'm not sure it's possible to make a good adaption of those events (or a great many other things of adult concern) with teenagers, no matter who is making it.

But back to R&J, I think it's a perfect illustration of how teenagers tend to over-dramatise things that aren't that important -- but I don't really know enough about the play to say if that was deliberate or not, though it strikes me as likely.

Did you like Baz Luhrmann's (sp?) effort, BTW? I thought it was indeed exciting and interesting, though Kyla hates it with a passion.
benpeek
Feb. 28th, 2004 10:59 pm (UTC)
ah, baz's romeo and juliet. i'm with kyla on this. i actually think the updating was quite spiffy looking, but baz drives me insane with just about everything he does. the way the film is put together just drives me batshit, and i find my skin crawling. plus, i hate the music he uses--just absolutely fucking hate it. anyhow, i just find the film utterly shallow while trying to be profound and it bugs me.

i don't like leonardo, either. he's about as interesting as an empty wall, and i find the guy who played tybalt to be one of those actor's who chews on scenery with relish. i do like claire danes, and the guy who played mercutio, but otherwise, there's really not much that i like about it.

i also hate strictly ballroom, in case you're wandering :)

(i haven't seen any of his other films.)

as for cruel intentions, and teenagers, well, i should point out none of them were actual teenagers, but int heir early twenties, but i see your point. i even watched it through the glass when i was a projectionist, and it had that cool placebo song at the end.
ashamel
Feb. 28th, 2004 11:11 pm (UTC)
We have the soundtrack, and even Kyla likes that (despite her hatred of the source material), so I guess we disagree on music...

I've seen Strictly Ballroom, which struck be as being alright. Didnt leave a great impression either way. That's the only other one of his I've seen too.
benpeek
Feb. 29th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)
strictly ballroom might have a lot to do with the fact that i was in year ten, and we were dragged there in english to see it. but i remember hating the music back then, and the look of the film, so, you know, it's entirely possible that being the wrong demographic for the film had nothing to do with it.

the music for romeo and juliet continued to drive me up the wall the more it was played, and it got played a lot around that time. especially that main show tune like number.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 2nd, 2004 01:56 am (UTC)
That's because it is one of Shakespeare's tragedies, it isn't a comedy or romance at all. From the point of view of the average Elizabethan, our current emphasis on love lust and romance as suitable things to base one's choice of mate on is absolutely insane.
benpeek
Mar. 2nd, 2004 02:27 am (UTC)
well, yes, i am actually quite aware that it's a tragedy, being that i am of reasonable intellect and have read the entire thing. which doesn't change my comment one iota: i can't take it seriously. for a tragedy to be a tragedy, romantic or otherwise, you've got to be able to take it seriously.

which, you know, i can't.
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