Based on our reading 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.
Puppy love is defined as a “romantic love that a young person feels for someone else, which usually disappears as the young person grows older” and infatuation is defined as “strong, but not usually lasting feelings of love or attraction”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Don’t these descriptions sound familiar? Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of infatuated children and puppy love. We’ve seen Romeo throw away his intense love for Rosaline, for the favour of Juliet, in a blink of an eye. Friar Laurence reacts to this in shock, saying “Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here! Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, So soon forsaken?” (II. iii. 65-67). Friar Laurence has seen Romeo’s desperation over Rosaline. This line shows he is shocked by the speed and finality that Romeo displays while throwing away his so-called dedication to Rosaline. This was infatuation. Intriguingly, Friar Laurence compares Romeo’s love for Juliet to an explosion, telling him that “violent delights have violent ends, and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which as they kiss, consume” (II. vi. 9-11). As we’ve defined, infatuation is a strong love that burns out quickly, almost like an explosion, as Friar Laurence has mentioned. This is another sign that, at the moment, Romeo’s love for Juliet is nothing but infatuation. In addition, Juliet is thirteen. As mentioned, puppy love involves a young person and Juliet is a perfect example; she is a young person in love. Even while she is considered an adult in her society, it is evident that she does not have a thorough experience and understanding of love. She tells Romeo her “true love is grown to such excess [she] cannot sum up sum of half [her] wealth” (II. vi. 33-34). Not even two days have passed since they have met, and Juliet is saying that her love for Romeo is so large that she cannot count half of it. Juliet doesn’t seem to be aware of the honeymoon phase and doesn’t understand the gravity of the consequences that might follow from her reckless actions. This reminds us that Juliet is, mentally, still a child and that she is naive and inexperienced with love. Romeo shows signs of infatuation with Juliet and Juliet shows signs of puppy love. In addition, Juliet is still a child mentally and Romeo, even while he is considered an adult, is still a young person. Their relationship perfectly fits the description of infatuated children playing with puppy love.
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/citation to your research at the end of your response.
What makes an adult, an adult? Is it the mind, wisdom, or the expectations of society? Kulich argues that Romeo and Juliet are considered adults in their time and that they are not infatuated children playing with puppy love. Historically, Kulich is correct. In the Elizabethan era (1500’s-1600’s), children were recognized as adults around the age of 12 or 13. Women were permitted to marry at the age of 12 and men were able to marry by the age of 14. We know that Juliet is 13 and that Romeo is in his late teens or early twenties. However, most women, in that time, did not marry at such a young age. Only the children of the wealthy married so young; most women typically married in their mid-twenties. Juliet is on the younger side of this spectrum. Unlike the majority of women, who were able to fall in love, fall out of love, and court, Juliet was not given the chance to gain the knowledge that comes from experiencing these things. This means that mentally and emotionally, Juliet is quite naive and childlike. She has no idea what love is supposed to be like, how the process of falling in love and falling out of love works. However, she confidently declares that her love for Romeo is “as boundless as the sea” and compares her love to the ocean, saying that “both are infinite” (II. ii. 133/135). This displays Juliet’s naivety and childlike confidence that her love will remain constant, passionate for evermore. Juliet is infatuated with Romeo and is ignoring the possibility of falling out love or is simply unaware of this possibility, due to her lack of experience in the area of romance. Whereas an adult might stop and think about the consequences, whilst taking knowledge from their past experiences, Juliet is throwing herself into a marriage with no prior knowledge and without thinking of the consequences. This shows the mindset of a child, rather than an adult. Kulich was correct in the fact that Romeo and Juliet were considered adults in their time. However, mentally and emotionally, Romeo and Juliet’s relationship resembles one of infatuated children and puppy love.