How Do Choices Test Our Maturity?

1058 words - 5 pages

In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, two fated lovers try to overcome the odds as they find a way to be together. Their love escalates as rapidly as it falls and when faced with challenging situations, their levels of responsibility are put to the test. We see a change in both Romeo and Juliet during the span of the five days in which the play takes place. Making rash decisions reveals how the two teenagers suffer for not being cautious. Both characters show similar levels of maturity at parts of the play and different levels elsewhere. Their relationship creates a new level of emotional maturity that neither has encountered before. Shakespeare uses the differences and similarities ...view middle of the document...

3.104-105). Only days later, when she finds that she will be married to Paris, Juliet would rather marry the man who her mother thinks she hates. Juliet surprises Lady Capulet by telling her: “I will not marry yet, and when I do I swear/It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,/Rather than Paris” (3.5.126-127). We see a change in Juliet here, for she is lying to her mother’s face. She has developed feelings for Romeo and reached a new level of emotional maturity. This act of rebellion shows how Juliet’s love for Romeo provokes an increase in maturity: she is more willing to betray her family than to betray her husband. Juliet is more emotionally mature, but is she mature in general?
Romeo is immature from Juliet in a different sense. He experiences the naive pain of petrarchan love at the beginning of the play with Rosaline, and we see a certain level of immaturity displayed in his feelings. Romeo only loves Rosaline for her beauty and when he falls so quickly for Juliet, it only proves more how immature his ideas of love are. He primarily falls for both women for their beauty, something foolish which Friar Lawrence takes note of. The Friar says to Romeo when he tells him of Juliet: “Young men’s love then lies/ Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes” (2.3.71-72). Friar Lawrence then points out to Romeo “...upon thy cheek doth sit of an old tear that is not washed yet” (2.3. 79-80). The friar knows how quickly Romeo moves from one woman to the next, an indication of emotional immaturity. Just hours before, Romeo was weeping over Rosaline, yet when he goes to visit Friar Lawrence, he has a new girl on his mind.
Both teenagers display immaturity in their hasty decision-making. They plunge head first into a marriage to someone whom each barely knows. Though they display varying levels of emotional maturity, their irrational and foolish choices lead them both to a fateful death. Feelings aside, they prove to be irresponsible. Romeo is immature because he is rushing his...

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