Romeo and Juliet Comprehension

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Jasmine Yu

February 23rd, 2009

Romeo and Juliet VS “Romeo and Juliet in Bosnia” on Human Nature

Why are people such selfish creatures? Is it because all they want out of life is to get a level higher in life than the rest? Or is it just apart of their genetic makeover? Whatever the reason, humans are the most selfish creatures on our planet. They are the only species on the face of this planet who choose what they want out of life. Some may say that choice is a good thing, but is choice not a catalyst in the process of becoming selfish? All of the other species in the world do not get to choose what they want to be or do in their lives. They go along with the cycle of life and take everything as it is. Humans, on the other hand are always trying to change the process of life. In Romeo and Juliet, and “Romeo and Juliet in Bosnia”, we learn that human beings are selfish creatures, who only think about their own well being without considering the consequences, which is reflected in the contrast between Shakespeare’s and Herbert’s perspective towards reckless love and the similarities between the egotistical actions of Admira and Juliet. Although some people may argue that these texts show us the compassion that humans have since birth through Herbert’s viewpoint of the two lover’s death, we can actually see that the texts teach us about human selfishness since Shakespeare wrote this play for money, which represents his own selfishness.

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s voice and perspective of Romeo and Juliet’s reckless love is usually represented through Friar Laurence’s dialogue. Romeo and Juliet’s recklessness and selfishness to spend the rest of their lives together causes them to ask Friar Laurence to marry them. Friar Laurence allows this marriage to occur, but only because he believes that it will help reconcile the feuding families. Romeo and Juliet do not even let the thought cross their minds. They only want to be together for love. We can see that William Shakespeare opposes this selfish and reckless love when Friar Laurence scolds Romeo after he has been exiled. Friar Laurence says

“O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!

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They fault our law calls death, but the kind Prince,

Taking they part, hath rushed aside the law,

And turned that black word “death” to “banishment”.

This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not” (Shakespeare, 859),

after Romeo complains about the punishment, saying that he would rather die than be separated from Juliet, Romeo even attempts to commit suicide. This represents selfishness because Romeo does not believe that he is lucky to be alive. He does not believe that the Prince has done him a favor, all he can think about is his love towards ...

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