I used to ruin Shakespeare for my kids.
You know the one I had to have them read—
The one about a girl my student’s age
Who falls for Romeo, an older man
Of sixteen years. I’d ask my freshman girls,
“How many of you think you’re old enough
to fall in love and marry? You’re the age
that Juliet was when she fell in love,
and married, and was dead within a week.
And gentlemen, in two more years will you
Be old, mature enough to take a wife?
Be willing to support a kid, leave school,
And work a forty-hour week and then
A second job while all your friends are here,
Are going out for sports, or at the beach
While you are at your nothing, dead-end jobs?
So here’s the plot: mature sophisticate
(that’s Romeo) is certain he’s in love
with Rosalind. With who? You heard it right.
He’ll die without the love of Rosalind.
He’s never met a girl like Rosalind
(Be still my heart!) until he notices,
across a crowded room, fair Juliet;
and then he says that Rosalind’s a dog,
and Juliet’s the only one for him.
You know the rest. Within a week they’re dead.
So, now you know the plot, let’s read the play.