Romeo + Juliet

I have always had a curiosity about Romeo and Juliet, as I was never able to fully understand how so many things could go wrong at once. When I went to the opera of the play, I had decided to go with an open mind to see if I would be able to finally catch a missing piece of the story.

The opera was part of the Metropolitan Opera 2016/17 season in the Cineworld cinema in Cheltenham. I was fascinated by how passionate the couple, Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo, chosen to play the protagonists seem to be. In the middle of that tragic story, I started to question myself that same frustrated question about how that all happened.

I then realised that maybe the question is so simple that not everyone thought of asking it. What if Shakespeare intended, not only to demonstrate how love can burn our souls but, to criticise the power of the church? With that said, allow me to create a theory:

Romeo and Juliet was written in the year of 1595-6 in Verona, Italy. At the time, the church was the most powerful institution, although the families Montague and Capulet are shown to be more influential.

As a Friar, it does not seem right to lie to the families to help a juvenile love, especially when Juliet is promised to marry another. It could easily start a war between the two families, or create a distress between the Capulets and the church.

However, he does that anyways. He tells Juliet that he and Romeo will be waiting for her to wake up so they can be together. He never did, although he could have told Romeo easily.

Romeo and Juliet were the only main heirs of the two richest families, and after Juliet’s cousin death, there was no other person to have access to the popular surname or their inheritance. As a matter of fact, the church could take the families’ possessions when they pass away.

If Romeo and Juliet had achieved permission to love each other, their son would become a powerful man, and eventually a possible threat to the religious institution.

At first, when I came with this theory, I did not want to believe it was a possibility as It is difficult to find a villain when all characters’ intentions seem so clear, and the only question is why life is unfair. However, Shakespeare has a subtle way to create questions and give us the illusion of understanding his stories. It may be one of the reasons why his writings are still fascinating.

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December

So, it’s been a while now and here I am assignments done and exams coming up. It’s a stressful time but everyone goes through it. Here are some of my recommendations for getting through the winter months:

  1. It’s getting darker earlier and colder so not too good if you’re used to sunny weather. Just remember to plan ahead, because I didn’t and I’ve had to buy jumpers, scarfs, hats, gloves… so yes, even though September isn’t too cold once December hits it’s freezing.
  1. December here at university is also revision, revision, revision… The noise in halls is a bit unpleasant when trying to study but as a last resort there is a 24hr computer room that is available to all students. This is brilliant if you need one of those nights with no sleep and like 60 coffees
  1. People are still going out but if you’re like me and prefer to stay in don’t worry. The university has loads of different clubs and socials you can join One of the most common ones for international students is the International Café which takes place every Wednesday at the FCH chapel. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends. While sipping a nice hot chocolate, and gives you plenty of time to study.
  1. If you’re an older student, from personal experience, I do recommend looking for a house if you can before coming to university instead of halls. I think it’s the one mistake I made because I’m now living with 18 year olds when I’m 22 so it isn’t what I expected and I would recommend attending a house-hunting event Especially because you can meet people before moving in.
  1. December is also a good time to get involved with UK Christmas culture and food as it may vary depending on where you’re from. For example, something new to me has been mince pies or mulled wine. A good place for this is the Cheltenham Christmas market, located on the promenade about 5 minutes from FCH.
  1. Another recommendation is to book your Christmas flights well in advance to be able to get the best rates but do remember to book these around you’re lectures, assignments, exams… if you’re not too sure you can always talk to your personal tutor beforehand. I’m really excited to go home as it’s only a week now until I get to see my family. The hardest thing for me has to be being separated from my loved ones.