People every day hide their true self from society to be like everyone else. In the 1600s all people wanted, was to get married and have kids. In Romeo and Juliet, there are several instances when characters are pushed to act a certain way. People during Shakespeare’s time had to cover up their true identity because they didn’t want to stand out; leading to forced spiritual beliefs and gender roles.
Males and Females had to go by societal standards throughout their whole life. Men thought that women were just objects. This is shown in the book by saying, “This cannot anger him. t’would anger him to raise a spirit in his mistress circle (Shakespeare).” This also shows that sex was something often talked about in their society and that it was a very common thing for people to do at this age. Even though Romeo wasn’t like normal young men at this age, he still believed that virginity deserved to be taken from women. It states in the book, “Her vestal livery is but sick and green, and none but fools do wear it (Shakespeare).” Romeo’s quote is how men would see all women, whether they were eighteen, sixteen, fourteen, or even twelve. Women at this time commanded little respect and, in this case, Juliet. All in all, Certain genders had an ideal guideline to follow to be admired or valued.
Men during the 1600s were known to be masculine and strong willed; however, Romeo played a different role. Instead of hiding his feelings he decides to share them, and make them very visible. His uniqueness is found firstly when it says, “Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, which thou wilt propagate, to have it pressed with more of thine (Shakespeare).” He is very sympathetic towards his friend while his friend is sympathetic, just not in a feminine way. This is shown when Montague states, “And private in his chamber pens himself (Shakespeare).” Romeo isn’t always sad or in love like people assume. His emotions are powerful and he is very sensitive. Rephrased it says,” His overpowering emotion is further shown when he kills Tybalt to avenge Mercutio’s death (AMORAN9).” His hate for Tybalt overpowered his love for Juliet; leading to his mood swings over the course of the play. Romeo was temperamental, especially when meeting Juliet, and it led Romeo to reflect feminine characteristics rather than masculine.
Juliet wasn’t the ideal daughter or wife. Her vulnerability was almost nonexistent and she was very strong willed. She didn’t always show her personality because femininity was taken very seriously in the 1600s. Juliet says, “Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow (Shakespeare).” In this quote Juliet asks Romeo to marry her but in this time, it would normally be reversed. Juliet also stabbed herself to death which was a very aggressive way for a lady to die and other strong actions are talked more about in (jowritesstuff) when it says, “She gets her nurse to smuggle messages to him, persuades Friar Laurence to marry them, and ends up getting both of them to cover for her when her parents start getting suspicious.” Women were supposed to be “lady like” and smuggling messages was not typically ideal. Since the love of Romeo and Juliet was forbidden, getting people to cover for them was a very powerful thing to do and a lady wouldn’t normally have that responsibility. Juliet played more of a male figure in her relationship then the man; causing important actions to take place.
People in the 1600s took religion very seriously and it played an important role in their life. The audience of the play Romeo and Juliet should’ve been aware that the characters were passionate Catholics because the play says, “God rest her and all Christian souls (Shakespeare)” and continues talking about God throughout. Romeo and Juliet’s families were very religious; however, the way their lives ended did not reflect Christianity. Even though some of the stuff the characters said and did didn’t reflect religion, the way they met was like a band aid in this situation. The conversation between the two started with a religious pick up line: “ this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss (Shakespeare).” The conversation is taken further in (PhDessay) and explaining how it contributed to the play. Romeo hinted throughout the play that he believed in fate over god. As an example, it says “But whoever’s in charge of where my life’s going can steer me wherever they want.” Romeo not once mentioned that god created his path of life, but rather fate did. Romeo and Juliet both believed in god; however, in some situations he wasn’t their top priority when in this time people believed he should be.
Romeo and Juliet broke barriers normal teenagers wouldn’t break. Juliet stood up to her father when he insisted, she marry Paris. Shakespeare writes, “Not proud you have, but thankful that you have. Proud can I never be of what I hate, but thankful even for hate that is meant love (Shakespeare).” In this time if a man and a woman both had their own side of a story, the man’s point of view would always be taken, so for Juliet to even verbally disagree with her father made her stronger than most girls. This idea is talked about on an online source: “The contrasting darker forces of hatred inject a sense of urgency into the relationship and lead to risk-taking sacrifices as an expression of their love (Minter).” Romeo and Juliet were discrete about what they said to their peers before they met each other; leading to fights, banishment, and death.
Teenagers tend to break boundaries parents set for them, but Romeo and Juliet made decisions that teenagers of today would have never thought of.
People living in the 1600s had to cover up their true selves from the rest of society because they didn’t want to be judged; leading to gender expectations and church-going pretenders. People rushed their childhood to become mothers and wives to began their simple life ahead of them. Shakespeare showed this In his play Romeo and Juliet, which gave strong examples of specific ways males and females should act. Each day mankind changes their identity to fit in with their peers.