Romeo and Juliet Act II: Critical Response

  1. 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 that Romeo and Juliet are engaging in ‘puppy love’. Puppy love is a term for romantic or platonic feelings of love, often felt during childhood and adolescence. Juliet is only 13 while Romeo is 17, and both have only met each other for 24 hours before they decide to marry. Despite Juliet’s earlier claims that marriage is “too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be”, she throws her caution to the wind (II. II. 118-119). Like a puppy following its owner, Juliet is infatuated with Romeo and lets him convince her into early marriage. In addition, Romeo falls into the other description of puppy love: adoring, worshipful affection. Romeo even compares himself to a pilgrim worshiping Juliet, a saint, with the lines “If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:” and “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.” (I. v. 93-94) and (I. v. 103-104). Romeo worships Juliet, dots her with affectionate words and love, but he loves her only for her looks, as Friar Laurence points out with his line, “Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here! Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, So soon forsaken?  Young men’s love then lies Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.” (II. III. 65-68). Romeo switches from Rosaline, his love for many months, to Juliet, whom he knows for only 24 hours. Romeo even denounces and forgets his love of Rosaline when he first sees Juliet, marked by the exclamation of “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (I. v. 52-53). In conclusion, Romeo thinks love is fast and fated and doesn’t take it seriously, falling on worship, adoration, and lust instead of true love. Juliet is too young and inexperienced for love, following Romeo as a puppy would almost blindly follow the first person it meets after Romeo wins her heart. While they are warned multiple times by the Friar, Juliet and Romeo persist in their puppy love which, if it had been given time and a happy ending, could have turned into a long-lasting love.

  1. 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/citations to your research at the end of your response.

I also agree that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children in the context of the time period. The historical lens means to view a piece of literature or history from a certain time period through the rules and normalities of that time period, which are often different from our own. For example, in the view of marriage in the time of the Elizabethans, the husband was dominant and the wife was the beautiful housewife. That view is much different from our views as a society today, but it is none the less true of that specific time period. It is important to judge the actions of literature through the lens of its history; otherwise, we cannot truly understand the wants and fears of someone from a different time, and therefore cannot justify or understand their actions. Women in Elizabethan times had a much different role and job then women have now. They were expected to marry as young as the age of 12 and became a woman soon before or after marriage. Someone like Juliet, age 13, would already be considered a woman, and someone like Romeo would long since be seen as a man at the age of 17. In addition, unmarried women were suspected of being a witch, especially in the lower class, so the expectation was that a woman’s only job was to marry and give birth to the heir of their husbands and family. Juliet, like many Elizabethan women, was tutored at home a variety of languages and educated in the ways of marriage. Unlike other women, she had a choice in marriage as her family was very rich, but her marriage options many consisted of men from powerful positions and families such as Paris, a relative of the king, and later Romeo, a member of the rich Montague family. The hope for these Elizabethan families was to forge alliances through arranged marriages, and someone as young as Juliet or Romeo would be eligible as a young adult so they could wed into such an alliance. The Elizabethan times also had shorter life expectancies due to disease, injury, or childbirth, so a midlife estimate in our time would very well be a lifespan estimate in Elizabethan time. In conclusion, Romeo and Juliet would not be considered children, but adults due to marriage views, lifespans, and expectations in their time period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppy_love – Definition of Puppy Love

http://www.william-shakespeare.info/elizabethan-women.htm – Elizabethan Woman

http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-women.htm – Elizabethan Woman (Upper Class)

In Depth #3 (Second Meeting)

In Depth is going extremely well. I had my second official meeting with my mentor on Friday, February 15 from 1:00pm – 2:15pm. We discussed my homework from the previous meeting (Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” plot points), talked about a writing project my mentor is currently doing, and created my next assignment, finishing the “Save the Cat” plot points and summing up my story idea in a focused ‘one sentence pitch’.

In this meeting, I followed the sections of “How to be Interesting” and “How to Respond” from Edward de Bono’s How to have a Beautiful Mind more clearly than the last meeting. The most notable use of these sections was during the discussion on my mentor’s use of the “Save the Cat” plot points in her current project. I extended, built on, modified, and gave input on her inciting incident and what she could do when she proposed the problem she was stuck on; she couldn’t find the inciting incident, and what she thought was her plot point didn’t fit the story she was trying to write. I gave examples from my own writing, built on her ideas, and offered my own views on her story, and our discussion resulted in my mentor and I each gaining a better understanding of our own inciting incidents. In other words, after supporting each other in our responses, we learned from the conversation and expanded our knowledge and understanding of our writing and each other. Our discussion resulted and was built off a joint interest, and through sharing our own views, experiences, and stories, we were able to reach a joint agreement and mutually benefited. 

I will be meeting again with my mentor on Wednesday, February 20 at 4:00pm. I am excited to share my completed homework and look forward to our next wonderful conversation.

In Depth #2/#3

In Depth is coming along very nicely. I had my first official meeting with my mentor on Wednesday, February 6 from 4:00pm – 5:35pm. We had a wonderful discussion about my In Depth plan, novel writing and story plans in general, and some tips and specific resources my mentor used like “Save the Cat” plot points. I also received my first homework assignment of In Depth: by our next meeting, I need to pick as many “Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat” plot points and fill out a brief summary of what part of my story idea fits that point in the novel.

I incorporated my learning from “How to have a Beautiful Mind” into my discussion after reading the sections of “How to Agree”, “How to Disagree”, “How to Differ”, “How to be Interesting”, and “How to Respond”. I found it was much easier to ‘agree’, ‘differ’, and ‘respond’ during the conversation. The tips and guidance of my mentor were wise notes, and it was fun running through our different perspectives and stories of similar styles of writing. My mentor’s views were easy to agree with as the majority of them were views I already had or previously didn’t think about. As she is an author, her knowledge was very genuine and held a lot of experience, so it was interesting to see how deep I could follow that information to its source, finding points of agreement and times of differences of experiences along the way. When we did have a difference of opinion, we cleared it by listening to each other, finding where the difference came from, and telling our personal stories about how the same style of writing was different to each of us because of our personal opinions. 

I also made sure to restate some of the information my mentor taught me about novel writing to clarify that I understood it, and elaborated on points when I found a place where a personal story and idea could be used to share my views on the topic. I expressed my worries about story planning, and my mentor showed me her techniques that I can try myself, all because she expanded on a point where her personal experience could push an agreement through difference.

I am very excited to meet again with my mentor on Friday, February 15 at 4:00pm. Her experience, tips, and our conversation is something I will keep for a long time.