I agree that Romeo and Juliet are engaging in puppy love. Throughout the play, we have seen them fall in love instantly and not consult any of their friends and family for advice. For these reasons, I believe that they do not fully understand their actions or feelings. Romeo sees Juliet and immediately declares “she doth teach the torches to burn bright,” within seconds of laying eyes on her (1, 5, 44). His opinion of Juliet is purely based on appearance. Juliet is slightly unsure of Romeo’s exuberance to please her and is overwhelmed when she says, “saints do not move,” as she will neither confirm nor deny her feelings (1, 5, 105). These first two quotes exemplify how little Romeo and Juliet understand each other, and their emotions. Neither of them asks questions about the other person and are instead is swept up in their own feelings of love. However, love is an emotion between two people and Romeo and Juliet seem to understand their emotions on only an individual basis. Although Juliet is the most hesitant at the beginning, she is the first to mention marriage. After Romeo sends her a proper marriage proposal, she is overjoyed but does not think about Romeo but rather the implications of marriage to someone of her own choice. For their relationship to be love there must be a genuine interest in the other person besides appearance. Neither Romeo or Juliet seem particularly inclined to talk about anything but how attractive or dangerous their love is. This makes me believe that because their love must stay a secret it appeals to them more. This is backed up by the quote from Juliet to “Deny thy father and refuse thy name,” as it appeals to Juliet for Romeo to make sacrifices for her (2, 2, 34). Moreover, neither character is extremely interested in communicating their newfound affection. Although both characters share that they are in love, often names are not used, and the recipient of their affections is left out of conversations. In this play, the plot of the two families hate may prohibit this, but whenever they talk about love their focus is on understanding their feelings rather than the other person. When Juliet meets Romeo to get married, she confesses her love as “my true love [has] grown to such excess wealth I cannot sum up […] my wealth” (2, 6, 33-34). In this quote, her ‘love’ is not Romeo but rather her internal feelings and emotions. Another way to state the quote is, her emotional maturity and understanding of emotions have increased. In this way, we can see that Juliet is exploring her emotional depth and is not invested in Romeo as a person. Overall, I agree that Romeo and Juliet are in puppy love, as they are less interested in the person and more interested in the secrecy and the individualistic intensity of their relationship.
Kulich’s argument is not very effective in convincing us that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children. The logos basis behind his argument is minimally misleading, but the appeal to the pathos and ethos perspectives are neglected. Although we can factually recognize that different time periods had different norms it is hard for us to emotionally relate to these times. Kulich states that “at 14 years of age human beings were considered to be adults,” but our societal norms today fundamentally disagree (Jindra Kulich). During the 15th century, the age of consent was 12 for women and 14 for men. Although we understand they were considered adults this does not mean that they were mature to today’s standard of being an adult, and the average marriage age during the century was 21 for women and 25 for men. This shows us how even during the late 15th century a marriage at Juliet’s age was uncommon. Moreover, the author is undermined by their only emotional story about “when [they] were 14 years old,” as they reveal their bias. This story shows potential bias because it reveals that the author has personal experience of being considered an adult at 14. This type of bias is called cognitive bias and is “a general term that many psychologists and other behavioral experts use to describe […] filter[ing] or perceive[ing] information based on […] past experience,” (David Galowich). In this case potential, cognitive bias harms the author’s credibility in reference to children being considered adults. Overall, Kulich’s theory is unconvincing as the three sides of the rhetorical pyramid are not used to enforce the argument.
Albert Blog. (2019). Understanding the Rhetorical Triangle for AP English Language. [online] Available at: https://www.albert.io/blog/understanding-the-rhetorical-triangle-for-ap-english-language/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2019].
Internetshakespeare.uvic.ca. (2019). The age of marriage:: Life and Times:: Internet Shakespeare Editions. [online] Available at: http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/society/family/marriage.html [Accessed 20 Feb. 2019].
Galowich, D. (2019). Understanding Biases And Their Impact On Our Perceptions. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/09/19/understanding-biases-and-their-impact-on-our-perceptions/#6ed82c4c7859 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2019].