Romeo and Juliet: possibly the most popular play in the world, but many people overlook the true cause of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. Looking into the story’s plot, two teenagers meet and fall in love. However, due to their families’ rivalry, Romeo and Juliet get driven into suicide. There are many factors in their deaths, but the main ones are their outside influences and their teen minds because of this, it leads to rash decisions.
A big influence on a person is their parents, and Juliet’s parents seem to have had a big impact on her. Juliet’s mom had a sway in Juliet wanting to get married as seen when she says “Well think of marriage now” in Act 1, Scene 3. (Shakespeare) The idea of Romeo and Juliet never dying if not for Juliet being pressured to marry is very plausible. Ever since that point in the story Juliet is dead set on getting married and in a very rushed manner. Continuing with the topic of Juliet’s mother it appears as if she has a poor job communicating with Juliet; in Act 1, Scene 3, she says “Nurse, leave us alone for a little while. We must talk privately—Nurse come back.” (Shakespeare) Juliet clearly needed parental guidance throughout the story. If she had a present parental role, then it would be easy to believe that she nor Romeo would have died in the terrible fashion they did. Now onto the people who influenced Romeo.
Romeo’s friends unknowingly had an impact on his demise. In Act 1, Scene 1, when Romeo asks his friends how to get over Rosaline Benvolio says “Do it by letting your eyes wander freely. Look at other beautiful girls.” (Shakespeare) Benvolio and Romeo’s other friends seem to see women as a trophy. Romeo might have bought into their ideas and wanted a trophy to show off. Romeo’s friends will also make fun of about his love life as seen in Act 2, Scene 1, when Mercutio says, “Now he’ll sit under a medlar tree and wish his mistress were one of those fruits that look like female genitalia.” (Shakespeare) Romeo’s friends don’t seem to give him any good influence. Romeo has troubles with a girl and his friends just make fun of him with perverted jokes. Looking at how Romeo’s friends treat him, it would make sense for him to rush a relationship to impress his friends.
Now turning away from the play and into Romeo and Juliet’s not mature brains. Developing Brain Connections Make Teenagers Impatient and Impulsive states that “Teenagers are impatient because developing brain connections make it difficult for them to see the benefit of waiting.” (Osborne) Saying that teens will make impatient choices: which sounds like Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet’s minds aren’t fully formed and yet they’re making mature and important decisions like marriage.
Now a look into behaviorism, more specifically the id; “Nature: Psychoanalytic Theory” says “the id is completely unconscious, impulsive and demanding part of the psyche. The id seeks immediate gratification.” (Mallari, Nature: Psychoanalytic Theory) This part of Romeo and Juliet’s minds were active a lot throughout the story. This part of the mind is impatient and impulsive, which sounds like Rome and Juliet’s quick romance summed up in two words. Internal factors also played a part into Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.
Romeo and Juliet lived in 15th century Italy, and this did have a factor on how they lived. During this time, women were not seen as equals and it’s seen through the speech of male characters such as Sampson when he says “That’s why women get pushed up against the walls, they’re weak” in Act 1, Scene 1. (Shakespeare) This provides clarity to why Juliet might feel like she must be married so she is protected. Romeo also feels like he must be a powerful protector when he murders Tybalt.
Also, during this time, you had to get your life together very quick looking at the life expectancy, which according to “Shakespeare’s London Fact Sheet” states that “London was extremely unsanitary. People would dump their household waste into open sewers and bathing was very rare. (Mallari, Shakespeare’s London Fact Sheet) Furthermore, keeping in mind that the black plague was still eminent, lives back then ending a lot shorter than they do today. Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was very rapid and swift, and life expectancy had an effect on their fast relationship which lead to their demise. The time they were living in is a major variable in the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Many readers of the story will say that Romeo and Juliet’s unfortunate death was only because of their teenage brains. Support of this claim is that in One Reason Teens Respond Differently to The World: Immature Brain Circuitry when it says “Teens mostly used the amygdala, a small almond shaped region that guides instinctual or ‘gut’ reactions, while the adults relied on the frontal cortex, which governs reason and planning.” (Osborne) This is proof that a teen’s mind is not on the same level of function as an adult.
Romeo and Juliet were not using their frontal cortex very well. However, while their teen minds played a very big part in their deaths, nurture factors also contributed. “Nurture: Behaviorism” states that “Behavior is shaped through positive reinforcements or negative reinforcements.” (Mallari, Nurture: Behaviorism) Romeo and Juliet’s influences were giving them these reinforcements causing them to believe that what they were doing made sense. Many times, throughout the play you see circumstances where Romeo or Juliet should have someone to tell them what they are doing should be thought through. Juliet’s mom and Romeo’s friends combined with their teen minds lead to their decease, not just one or the other.
The cause of Romeo and Juliet’s death is very complicated, but the two main reasons are their immature minds and their outside influences. A story of two opposing families’ rivalry leading to two teens committing suicide.