Why Is "Romeo and Juliet" Still Relevant?

William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" is still relevant in 2014 because people still suffer from forbidden, doomed or unrequited love and recognize the story as universal. Because the play captures the rashness that comes with young love, it makes audiences think about whether young love is all that different from love between older adults.

Some have claimed that "Romeo and Juliet" is no longer relevant because the protagonists are so very young, with Juliet being only 13 at the time she meets Romeo, marries him, has sex with him and then kills herself. An argument made in The Atlantic, however, points out that as of 2014, adolescence extends through the teenage years and into the early 20s, making the story and themes of "Romeo and Juliet" even more relevant.

"Romeo and Juliet" is the most-filmed play of all time, and the play makes an appearance in other movies as diverse and popular as "Shakespeare in Love" and "High School Musical." The enduring popularity of "Romeo and Juliet" is seen especially in the hometown of the two fictional lovers, Verona, Italy. In Verona, tourists get married in front a house purported to be Juliet's, make a point of touching the bosom of a bronze statue of Juliet and write 10,000 letters a year to the “Club di Giulietta,” an organization of volunteers that responds to every letter.