Hand-lettering // Hope Hickman @sincerelyhope.designs
I realized after writing this piece that it was quite long, so I decided to break it into two parts. In Part I, I talked about four lessons we can still learn from Romeo and Juliet. I also did a bit of a refresher on the play. 😉 If you missed Part I and would also like a recap of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, you can find it here.
I love when literature becomes practical, when academia meets real life. William Shakespeare might have lived in the 16th century, but we’re still seeing these issues today. Learning from the past sure does help better our future. Here are four more lessons for us to keep in mind in the 21st century.
Listen to the people who care about you.
The Nurse helped raise Juliet, and Friar Laurence is a dear friend and advisor to Romeo. Initially, the Nurse and the Friar provide some solid advice to Romeo and Juliet. The Nurse wants to make sure Juliet is truly in love (and that Romeo does indeed return her love). Similarly, Friar Laurence is Romeo’s confidant, and he wants the best for him. The Friar cautions Romeo several times. Yet Romeo and Juliet disregard their advice and press forward with their desires. Yes, Romeo and Juliet are grown-ish (for their time period), but true maturity comes when you seek trusted council for your future. If Romeo and Juliet had taken Friar Laurence’s advice to slow down, would they have had to split up? No way. In fact, things probably would have turned out better for them. Granted, anything would have been better than the end they came to.
Talk about your feelings.
Romeo and Juliet talk about their feelings with each other, but they never express them to their families. They should have! Imagine how different things would have been. Rather than flipping out, Romeo and Juliet could have had a sit down conversation with their parents. I’m sure their parents would have been angry initially, but they would have likely come to understand. While you should be both tactful and mindful not to hurt others’ feelings, you should be able to express how you feel. If something is bothering you, gently express that to the person you love, whether that’s a significant other, family member, or friend. If they truly love you, they’ll be willing to hear you out and, most importantly, work something out.
Communicate your plans.
This one isn’t technically Romeo and Juliet’s fault. They had some communication problems because they were towns away and didn’t have iPhones, not because they were unwilling to work with each other because they disagreed on a plan. But regardless, Romeo didn’t get the message that Juliet was faking her own death, and, well, you know the rest. Communication is key to any good relationship. The way that communication is expressed is also very important. Be careful to be patient and gentle – and also expect that in return. Everyone deserves such.
Realize your choices affect everyone else’s lives.
Romeo and Juliet are quite selfish in their love. They don’t take their families or friends into consideration at all. We live by the choices we make – or, in Romeo and Juliet’s case, die by them. But it’s important to remember that everyone else lives with them as well. We should always be mindful of caring for those around us in our decision making. And most importantly, if you find yourself not having cared how your choices affect others around you, it’s never too late to start.
Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.
Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet Act II, scene iii