Twilight vs. Romeo and Juliet

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Deemed the new modern day Romeo and Juliet, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight reintroduces the idea of “forbidden love”. However, Meyer’s Edward Cullen and Bella Swan are not simply rewritten versions of Romeo and Juliet. Instead, when comparing these two stories together, the reader can recognize more than the “forbidden love” that occurs between two opposing sides in both books, but they can also use the comparison to understand each character as individuals more thoroughly.

Perhaps the most obvious signal that the two texts are related can be found in the beginning of Twilight when Meyers inserts a quote from Romeo and Juliet. To begin with, each story has similar romance scenarios: Shakespeare presents two teenagers falling in love while being forbidden to have anything to do with each other because of their families feuding. Meyers has two teenagers fall in love, although their problems with their relationship result not because of family feuds, but because of race in a very nontraditional way. Juliet is a Capulet while Romeo is a Montague; Bella is a human while Edward is a vampire. The relationships end in their own separate ways: Romeo and Juliet die, Edward and Bella continue on with their lives although their relationship, and possibly their lives, are at stake and in question. Despite the similarities of the circumstances of the relationships and the difference in their endings, the readers of these two works will benefit most from comparing the main characters of each. Through these comparisons, the readers can better understand each relationship and their importance beyond the text they are created for.

Romeo is presented in Shakespeare’s play as someone who is emotionally weak and shallow. This flaw is pointed out in his relationship with Juliet which occurs quickly and never really develops any further into anything but them being completely obsessed with each other. He also appears very immature in comparison with his younger female counterpart in the way he acts when he first meets her. When compared to Edward, the main similarity that the two share is that they are shallow with their relationships. They also both appear dominating over their female counterparts, although the females perhaps have more strengths.

Juliet and Bella are similar in that they both have strong character, but they are both submissive to their male counterparts. Juliet is presented as more mature than Romeo, however she is submissive to him by following along with all of his ideas, including getting married after only knowing each other for a short time. Bella has a strong character in that she is always willing to help others while not being afraid of taking on challenges alone. However, she too is submissive towards Edward: she follows along with his ideas and eventually seems to believe Edward is a better person than she could ever be. This submissiveness of both of these female characters is what causes their relationships to become shallow as well. They are presented as having stronger characters than what they exhibit by giving in to their male counterparts which are presented as shallower characters. This point is especially highlighted through Juliet’s suicide over Romeo’s death and Bella’s determination to eventually become a vampire so she can continue living on through eternity with Edward. Both are forms of self destruction in an attempt to sacrifice themselves for the “love” of their male counterpart.

The comparison of the characters, especially of Juliet and Bella, help to highlight the importance of the romances that occur in both Romeo and Juliet and Twilight. Through these character comparisons, a reader can understand the level and depth of importance of the relationships presented. This shallow level, once revealed, takes away some of the excitement each relationship presents on the surface because of the total obsession with the relationship that is coming from both main characters. This revelation is important, especially for the young adults who have become engrossed with Meyer’s Twilight, because it tones down the “glamour” of the forbidden love and presents each relationship in a more realistic view.

           

Works Cited

 

"Bella Swan -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bella_Swan>.

 

"Bella Swan: The Other Side of the Coin: No Character is Perfect. Does the Twilight Heroine Have Any Flaws?" Teen Fiction @ Suite101.com: Classic and modern fiction for young adults including reviews, bestsellers, award-winning books and author interviews. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://teenfiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/bella_swan_the_other_side_of_the_coin>.

 

"Deconstructing Bella Swan: What Makes Her Tick? Is the Twilight Saga Heroine a Good Role Model for Girls?" Teen Fiction Series @ Suite101.com. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://teen-fiction-series.suite101.com/article.cfm/deconstructing_bella_swan>.

 

"Edward Cullen (Twilight) -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Cullen_(Twilight)>.

 

"Romeo and Juliet -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet>.

 

"Stephenie Meyer's Twilight: The Next Romeo and Juliet? Not Quite." Teen Fiction Series @ Suite101.com. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://teen-fiction-series.suite101.com/article.cfm/stephenie_meyers_twilight>.

 

"Twilight (novel) -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 07 Apr. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_(novel)>.

 

"WikiAnswers - Does anyone know the quote from Romeo and Juliet in the beginning of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer." WikiAnswers - The Q&A wiki. 07 Apr. 2009 http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Does_anyone_know_the_quote_from_Romeo

_and_Juliet_in_the_beginning_of_Twilight_by_Stephanie_Meyer&alreadyAsked=1.

 

 Go back to class

3 Comments

Laqueshia Jordan said:

Wow now that i think about that's a real amazing perspective about the story. Hey wut about Edward and Romeo? when Romeo thought Juliet was dead he made it be known that he'd kill himself. In Twilight Edward did too when he told Bella that he'd go to the Volturi if she died. Is that the same thing?

Katerina said:

this is really helpfull i am doing a report in english on something im really interested in, i am obsessed with twilght and i LOVE romeo and juliet so my teacher told me to combine them. thanks this website is VERY helpfull ;)

pinter said:

I firstly read the book ( http://www.ebook-search-queen.com/ebook/twil/twilight.all.html ) and then in several months watched the movie. To tell the truth, I liked both, which happens rather rarely ;)

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