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Destiny Vs Decision In Shakespeare's Words

703 words - 3 pages

Every spring for the last six years, I have introduced a group of nervous ninth-graders to the first man I loved: William Shakespeare. As I pronounce those first words, "Two households, both alike in dignity," and set Romeo and Juliet spinning to their doom, I know these kids think they are reading the greatest love story ever written. I spend the next six weeks trying to force them to see beyond the utter beauty and heart-breaking romance of Shakespeare's words to understand that the play is a tragedy, a cautionary tale for teenagers and their parents. Inevitably, we come to the same sticking point: could Romeo and Juliet have avoided their fate? Were they indeed "star-crossed" (or as Romeo puts it, "fortune's fool[s]")? Or were they victims of circumstance, of their own ill-advised decisions, and of the actions of misguided adults? Since Shakespeare leaves room for both interpretations, I always turn to personal experience for an answer.My own love story is not actually a romance with a long-dead poet, but my courtship with a wonderful man two years my senior. (Ironically, Mr. Shakespeare, he is an attorney, but wonderful, nonetheless. It's a very famous Shakespearean quote, kids: "Kill all the lawyers.") Our story does lend itself to the argument for fate. We met in college - sort of. I first noticed him during Pepperdine's freshman orientation, where he participated in a presentation about the university's international programs. During the same assembly, the upperclassmen joked about the number of couples who met at "Pepp" and later married. One quipped, "Your future spouse could be in this very room." I got goose bumps while everyone else looked around and laughed nervously. I was secretly convinced that it might actually be true.We were formally introduced by his girlfriend, who was an acquaintance of mine and my scene partner in acting class, but our paths didn't cross much after that. Once, when he spoke at our school's weekly convocation, I leaned...

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