A Dose of Immaturity in Romeo and Juliet

Essay by kimtoaHigh School, 12th gradeA, January 2008

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In William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, both Romeo and Juliet are tragic heroes with tragic flaws. They both share the same tragic flaw, which is immaturity. This is illustrated when they "fall in love" before even getting to know each other. Also, their immaturity is shown when they fail to think their situation through before getting married without their parents' consent. Romeo's immaturity is what caused him to kill Tybalt; Juliet's immaturity is what caused her father to push her wedding to Paris ahead. If Romeo and Juliet had maturely thought about Romeo's banishment before going to extreme measures to see each other again, they most likely would not have had such a tragic ending.

When Nurse tells Juliet who Romeo is, Juliet says, "My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathèd enemy" (61).

When Romeo sees Juliet on the balcony later that night, or possibly the next morning, he says, "It is my lady. O, it is my love" (69). In real life, two mature people don't know for sure that they've fallen in love after talking for just a few minutes. Their immaturity is shown in these quotes because they think they are in love before they have spent any time together. Perhaps Romeo thinks he loves Juliet because she is the first girl he has approached who seems to like him back. Maybe he just likes her because of her beauty. Either way, if he were mature, he would not think he felt love for her so soon after first laying his eyes upon her. Juliet could think she loves Romeo because she is so used to being kept in her house and has not been exposed to many young men. This most likely causes her to think, since he could be the first boy who has directly flirted with her, that she loves him. Juliet is very immature in suggesting marriage to Romeo, not only because she is a girl, but also because she hasn't introduced him to her parents and because she doesn't know him well enough to even think about marriage.

Romeo and Juliet show their immaturity when they decide to get married the day after they meet. They do not think their situation through before their wedding. If they were mature, they would have thought of the fact that their parents were going to eventually find out about their wedding. Therefore, they should have found another way to see each other and after getting to know each other well, discuss marriage with their parents.

Romeo's immaturity is what caused him to kill Tybalt and be banished from Verona. When Tybalt killed Mercutio, Romeo decided to avenge his friend and kill Tybalt. This was an immature decision because, if he had taken time to think about what else he could do, he would have known that the prince would punish Tybalt, and he would have decided not to kill him. Also, Romeo should have thought of the fact that he would be severely punished for killing Tybalt, after what the prince had said about what would happen if he discovered that there was still fighting between the Montagues and Capulets, and he probably wouldn't be able to see Juliet again.

After Romeo is banished from Verona, Juliet assumes that she'll never see him again. Immaturely, she cries and cries. Her parents think that she is crying about Tybalt's death; however, she is not. Juliet's father then decides that to cheer her up, he should arrange her wedding to Paris that week. Therefore, the arrangement of Juliet's wedding to Paris so soon is her own fault. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, Capulet tells her that she must, or else leave the house. If Juliet were mature, she would have tried to make a compromise with her father, rather than running to Friar Lawrence's cell and threatening to kill herself. When Friar Lawrence offers the potion to Juliet, she says quite immaturely, "Give me, give me! O, tell me not of fear" (185). Juliet shouldn't have wanted to cause her parents so much grief, thinking she was dead, by taking the potion so that she could be with a boy she hardly knew.

The immaturity of Romeo and Juliet is what lead to their downfalls, which makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy. If they had been more mature and hadn't rushed into things before thinking them through, they may have been able to get married, with the consent of their parents, and live long lives together without ever having to leave Verona.