A couple weeks ago I stumble across a mention of The Romeo and Juliet Effect in a book about motivation and will power.
Today among the various Shakespeare feeds I scan I spotted this 2008 Psychology Today article entitled, “Romeo and Juliet’s Death Trip: Addictive Love and Teen Suicide.”
There are no great insights to be found. The author pretty much skims the story for various death references and ties them all back to suicide, including the claim that Romeo is suicidal over Rosaline at the opening of the play. I think that’s a bit much. That’s not suicidal, that’s emo. Not the same thing.
The article’s at least entertaining, though, and I appreciate that. I wonder how far his tongue was in his cheek while writing it?
Father Laurence tries cognitive behavior therapy:
I’ll give thee armour to keep off that word:
Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy (read “psychology”),
To comfort thee, though thou art banished. . . .
rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array.
But then (oy!!!) the good Father resorts to pharmacology: he gives Juliet a potion to make her appear dead.