Monday, May 25, 2009

Banned & Censored Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 3 It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. "
-Romeo, Romeo & Juliet II.ii

First published in 1597, Romeo and Juliet is William Shakespeare's classic tragic play about two young lovers from rival families. It is the basis of West Side Story and other movies, books, etc. The balcony scene is probably the most famous theatrical moment in the English language (perhaps second to Hamlet's soliloquy).

Shakespeare didn't invent this story idea: Shakespeare was a playwright and many of his most famous works were dramatizations of historical events or works that were well-known in his day.

So, why has this play been banned and censored?

According to some, Romeo & Juliet encourages teen sex, disrespect of authority, teen drug use, violence and suicide.

What Romeo & Juliet really "teaches" is romance & beauty. It teaches culture and history. It is the ultimate story of tragic love for our culture & scores of literary, cinematic and artistic works refer to it.

When you deprive someone of exposure to a quintessential work like this, they will never have a deep understanding or appreciation of literature : half of all literature will be a mystery to them, as if they were hearing the punchline without knowing the joke.
When they start pulling works like these, that's what "education" becomes: a joke.



Mardel said...

education has been a joke, and is getting worse. How can something be banned that is studied! When I was in middle school in San Jose (over over 20 years ago) our English teacher took us on a field trip to see Romeo and Juliet (with Olivia Hussey) at the movie theater! This was over 20 years ago. Are we going BACKWARDS?!)

DeSeRt RoSe said...

You have something waiting for you at my blog :)

Glynis said...

Oh my, I studied this in school, we were taken to the cinema and theatre to see I am not a pill popping, booze swigging, sex crazed woman, so what bit did I miss? Was it a paragraph or a scene I failed to understand?
Honestly, it makes you mad with what is being highlighted as bad for kids...some parents should look at themselves before they open the world door and start accusing the classic books! Rant over LOL