Don’t want to be a Shakespearean Scholar when I grow up

Lane - Marquette, Michigan
Entered on March 3, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Don’t want to be a Shakespearean Scholar when I grow up

A Commentary by Lane, 14.

In my English class recently, we were made to read what my teacher calls “the greatest Shakespearean play of the ages:” Romeo and Juliet. Along with having to read it, we’ve also had to answer loads of questions, write mini essays, and watch the 14 different versions of the movie. We’ve been basically forced to sell our souls to Romeo and Juliet for three months now. I definitely believe that I could write a doctoral thesis.

And Romeo said to Juliet,

” If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”

So, what your really saying is…

“Wow your hot, we should become so obsessed with each other that we end up killing ourselves.

Shakespeare stuns me with his brilliance.

If you roamed the halls and asked each and every teenager in the 9th grade what they thought about Romeo and Juliet, this one opinion, I feel, would be unanimous, “as if they would really act like that!”

I know teen angst has been around since the 15th century and it continues to be represented in modern literature––you’ve heard of Harry Potter? But come on, this is way out of hand! Teenagers killing themselves to “be together?” Please! I’m not into that.

I believe Shakespeare wanted you to feel bad for Romeo and Juliet. I, however, am not a fan. I can give Juliet a pass because of the character’s young age––she was supposed to be 13 after all––but I feel that Romeo was an unrealistic character and he annoyed me. Shakespeare accomplished actually making me happy that Romeo dies in the end. In the beginning of the play he’s emotional over a girl named Rosaline. He’s depressed because she can see through his act, and doesn’t love him. But it doesn’t stop him from falling in love with Juliet. In fact, he drops Rosaline faster than a hot potato––just another example of teen angst.

At one point Romeo says to Friar Lawrence.

” With Rosaline, my ghostly father? No; I have forgot that name and that name’s woe. ”

I feel Romeo needed to chill with his cousin Benvolio on the couch and eat a pizza because he’d get over Juliet as well soon enough. I also feel Juliet needed take a chill pill and wait a few years before getting so wrapped up in “a Romeo.”

Romeo and Juliet, I only have one thing to say to you,

Suck it up.

Shakespeare I also only have one thing to say to YOU.

Get real…opps, too late I suppose.

I am awfully glad this unit is over.