A Psychological Analysis of Romeo and Juliet Essay

1744 Words7 Pages
A Psychological Analysis of Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet was obviously not written to fit the psychoanalytic model, as the theories of Freud were not developed for centuries after Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote to Renaissance England, a culture so heavily steeped in Christianity, that it would have blushed at the instinctual and sexual thrust of Freud’s theory. However, in order to keep literature alive and relevant, a culture must continually reinterpret the themes and ideas of past works. While contextual readings assure cultural precision, often these readings guarantee the death of a particular work. Homer’s Iliad, a monument among classical works, is currently not as renowned as Romeo and Juliet because it is so heavily…show more content…
Seemingly, Romeo died because he could not have Juliet and Juliet died because she could not have Romeo. To a passive reader, this is sufficient justification for such an action. However, a therapist demands more. A psychoanalytic therapist would have considered the problems of each these adolescents, and could have perhaps helped them avoid their tragic end. In order to understand Romeo and Juliet, it must be remembered that these two heralds of love were little more than children. In Renaissance England, the category of adolescence was not recognized (Cox 391). A person went from childhood to adulthood without the liberty that is allowed to modern adolescents. Nowadays, the teenage years are accepted as a turbulent period in which defiance of authority and assertion of "self" are not only allowed, but also expected. Adults explain away even the most inexplicable behavior of teenagers as "just a phase". However, as this was not done in Shakespeare’s England, both Romeo and Juliet were expected to take on the roles of adults, and were chastised for their refusal to enter in the adult world as their parents would have them. Juliet is first presented to the audience as a young woman who has come to marrying age: “Well, think of marriage now; younger than you, / Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, / Are made already mothers…Thus then in brief: / The valiant Paris seeks you for his love”(1.3.69-74). Juliet is presented with the idea of marrying Paris with
Open Document