Happy Western holiday of cartoon hearts, everybody!
And what day better than Valentines to talk about the world’s obsession with love, right? Those who take the meaning assigned by floral companies to February 14th will be spending the evening either dining with a loved one or sitting at home resenting the fact that someone out there is doing the former. It would be a good night, in fact, to get a bit tipsy and whip out the faithful DVD of Romeo and Juliet (though you really don’t need a special occasion to sob over Leo DiCaprio’s precious face), crying into the cat and wondering when you will possibly find your own Romeo.
Aaaaaaand at that point I admit I lose a little bit of respect for you, because in delving into that playscript and longing for a story like it for yourself, you have completely missed the point of the entire thing. I also advise you to stop minding about Valentine’s Day so much and to like, go hang out with your friends and family or something, because quite frankly it’s a dumb occasion, but that’s another story.
Romeo and Juliet would have to be one of the most famous love stories in Western, in fact probably all, literature. If you mention those two names, even on their own, doubtless the people around you will know who they are and their association: undying, heart-breaking, world-shattering love.
They defied their family rules for each other, they fought against the misunderstanding world that sought so stubbornly to drive them apart, and died for each other as well, unable to bear living in a world apart.
Let me pause here to say that R&J is one of my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays, and the Baz Luhrman film is one of my favourite movies. It is an excellent story, it has bitter greed and revenge and snarky banter and sword fights and questions about what makes us do the things we do. But it is not a good love story. Continue reading