Dr. James Patrick, “The Popular Influence of Romeo and Juliet” (MP3 Download)


Run Time: 43 minutes

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Romeo and Juliet juxtaposes social order with the irrational forces of erotic love, but illustrates traditional marriage and parenthood as the institution that reconciles both needs. One school of criticism has spun the play as a Puritan morality tale about disobedient children who seek the forbidden with the help of a wicked monk, but this requires willfully ignoring important content, or reading that content with shocking cynicism. The superior critical position is that Romeo and Juliet is what it portends to be: a tale of “star-crossed” love, but also a perceptive picture of the nature of love. The fundamental aspect of love is sacrifice, Dr. Patrick insists, and “to love is to die.” The proper end of this passion is the essentially creative confines of marriage, which brings order and new life into the world.

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