The Silliest Love Story Ever Told

The bard himself knew it, when he wrote it. His so-called big-screen debut, Romeo and Juliet, is a comedy of errors with a tragic twist. Why a comedy? Because of the masterful verbal sparring among the characters, especially whenever Mercutio speaks; he is the proverbial pungeon master. The bawdy imagery, the circumstances (e.g. dragooning Juliet’s nurse into sneaking Romeo through her chamber for some wedding-night action), and the overall repartee undoubtedly scream comedy. Mercutio’s utterly idiotic decision to duel Tybalt is precisely what instigates the carnage in the play.  As for the premise, boy howdy is it silly: Two hormonally-charged teenagers mistake their impulses for true love and decide to sabotage their lives. Romeo is rightfully the Ur-example of the lovestruck fool, from whom the nickname had originated. He was a typical rich brat, whose destiny was handed on a silver platter, yet he always found reason to complain. His dream girl Rosaline will not return his advances, much less bear his children– boo-freaking-hoo! The dejected youth’s sundial strikes noon, as soon as another pretty girl (Juliet) enters the picture. Of course! A rebound is all it takes, right, Ronnie? The two start making out, within minutes of meeting. Night comes, and the guy is already soliloquizing. (Read: not by a balcony but right outside her window. Balconies didn’t exist back then.) The next day, the kids– exactly what they are– act all rebellious and elope, thanks to Friar Lawrence. Tragedy ensues, shortly after. Tybalt wants nothing more than absolute power. His motivations nearly mirror Claudius’ from Shakespeare’s later masterpiece: Tybalt is (allegedly) lusting after Mrs. Capulet. Mr. Capulet’s fondness for Romeo (albeit not for the Montague clan) becomes motivation enough for Tybalt to eradicate the hypothenuse.  Mercutio, of course, has to act all noble and initiate a duel. Spoiler: The bad guy wins, and we are treated to gallows humor. “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” Romeo retaliates; Mrs. Capulet bawls her eyes out for her cousin/secret lover; Romeo must leave for Mantua and throws a fit in the process (“Do not say ‘banishment’!!!”) The Capulets misconstrue Juliet’s grief for her hubby as that for Tybalt and hatch a plan to drop the engagement bombshell on her. (Nice parenting, you two!) Neither the Nurse nor Friar Lawrence provide much help for the (love?)birds. As we know, poor communication kills: The Nurse barely did anything to protect Juliet, and Friar Lawrence failed to relay to Romeo the message that his girl was merely sleeping away her engagement to Prince Paris. Cue the cup and the dagger (Pretty subtle, eh?)
Long story short (not quite), R and J are not the paragons of eternal love. Somebody needs to put that analogy to bed… to bed… (More Shakespeare references, yay!)