Adolescents' Coming of Age Through Struggle Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

strength"-Oprah Winfrey:

The coming-of-age struggles of to Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet

Although written in radically different styles (one is written from the perspective of an Elizabethan playwright, one is written in the voice of the child), at radically different eras, and in completely different media (one is a play, the other is a drama), both William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird can be classified as coming-of-age dramas. In Romeo and Juliet, the teenage protagonists gain a sadder and more sophisticated understanding of the conflict-ridden world in which they live as a result of their love for one another. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the young narrator Scout comes to better understand the evils of the simmering racial tensions which exists within polite Southern society. Through the emotional struggles they personally undergo and witness both characters attain new levels of maturity they did not possess at the onset of their respective sagas.

At the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is pining for Rosaline, a cold woman who wants to become a nun. This false passion is contrasted with the true feelings he comes to have for Juliet. At the beginning of the play, Juliet is very childlike and fearful about the idea of becoming married. Once she meets Romeo, however, she passionately and impetuously decides to marry him, even though he is the son of the Capulets' sworn enemies the Montagues. Romeo, in honor of his feelings for Juliet, ineffectually tries to prevent the young men of both families from brawling and only hastens his own banishment when Tybalt is killed. But because of his love for Juliet and his struggles, by the end of the play he has become a mature individual. He is capable of putting the feelings he has for another above his own self-interest. Juliet is even more mature than Romeo, understanding the futility of her passion yet also accepting it completely. From the beginning, she knows that her love is doomed even though she also knows that her only happiness comes with loving someone else, no matter what the risks: "Although I joy in thee, / I have no joy of this contract tonight. / It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, / Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be/Ere one can say 'It lightens'" (2.2). She overcomes her fears to…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1988.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo & Juliet. No Fear Shakespeare. Web. 31 May 2015.

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