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.
I agree with Jo Ledingham’s statement that their relationship is one of “‘infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”. After reading that statement several times, I’ve come to realize that age is not the only factor contributing to the ‘puppy love’ both characters share. I understand Jindra Kulich’s point that at 14 years of age, both Romeo and Juliet were considered adults in their time but at a young age, it’s hard to grasp such complex ideas. The love between Romeo and Juliet is intense and extravagant but as far as puppy love goes, it’s also quite superficial. In the case of Romeo and Juliet, it’s true that they love and care for each other but they have just met and are strangers. It’s because of their little time together, I view their love as childlike even if they aren’t considered children back then. When Romeo arrives at the Capulet party and sees Juliet for the first time, he says that he had “ne’er saw true beauty before tonight” (65) which shows that he thinks love is based on looks. He also completely forgot about Rosaline showing that he didn’t really love her and he didn’t understand love. Friar Lawrence further expands on this by saying that “[Romeo] love did read by rote, that could not spell” meaning that Romeo knows of love by the books but has never truly experienced love. This puppy love is exactly what Ledingham is referring to and as they mature, their love would mature as well.
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.
After doing research about the historic age of majority, Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children is effective and historically accurate. The average age for marriage ranged from 20-27 during the 16th and 17th century. The age for consent was also as low as 12 during that time. However, in today’s world, scientist conclude that the brain of a teenager is raging with hormones and also shrinks slightly before adulthood. With this information, the age of majority is 18 and anyone younger than that is still growing and developing which is why they aren’t considered adults.
“Adulthood.” The Life Cycle in Western Europe, C.1300-C.1500, by Deborah Youngs, Manchester University Press, 2006, pp. 126–127.
“Internet Shakespeare Editions.” The Age of Marriage :: Life and Times :: Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria, 4 Jan. 2011, internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/family/marriage.html#juliet.