What is a Youth – Romeo & Juliet


As we all know, or should know, the play, Romeo & Juliet is one of the most famous plays by the playwright William Shakespeare. The first edition of Romeo and Juliet was printed in the year 1597, a mere 414 years ago. William Shakespeare was only 33 years old when Romeo and Juliet was first published, and while this play according to it first publication date, ranks it as one of his earliest pieces of work, there are no records, as far as I know, that tells us when Shakespeare first actually wrote the play or when it was first performed on stage before a live audience.

In our age of the internet when everything related to technology seems to be moving faster and faster with each passing moment, I still turn back to the classics in literature when I need to slow down and really take time to think again about what is important to me. When my mind is thirsty, I always turn back to the plays of Shakespeare for much-needed nourishment. A quiet moment, alone in my study, reading and reflecting on the poetic writings of Shakespeare; timeless.

Today, when I think of the meaning of romantic love and whether it truly exist of not I always come back to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet and the various themes and meanings behind the play. One could, and indeed many have more elegantly than I, written at length on the multiple layers of what is lost to not only Romeo and Juliet, but also what is lost in us as the observers of this tragic play. For me at least, it is the internal tragedy, we all lose, and feel, when the original “innocence” of youthful love dies. It is this concept, that is the most endearing aspect of the play of Romeo and Juliet, the lost of that one moment in time, that is far to brief, when we were truly innocent.

I’ve included a section of the 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet directed by Franco Zeffirelli, that I got off of YouTube for this posting. The film stars Leonard Whiting as the young Romeo and Olivia Hussey as the young Juliet. Personally I feel this is one of the best film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s play that keeps true to the written text of the play. The scene you will see if you decide to watch it, is that first encounter between Romeo and Juliet, that timeless innocent moment of youthful romantic love. I hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did.

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