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|When I was in high school, I moved around a lot. That meant that I switched schools a lot. There was little consistency between schools regarding what books were being taught and when. What I'm trying to say is that I formally studied Romeo & Juliet four times. I have read it repeatedly, watched several film adaptations, and seen it performed on stage. This has led to some less conventional, warped opinions of Romeo & Juliet.
First off, while the classic definitions of comedy and tragedy marks this as a tragedy because the characters don't receive their happy endings, the modern definitions of comedy and tragedy mark Romeo and Juliet as a comedy. Seriously. It's hilarious. The opening scene features rude gestures and virginity jokes. Jokes abound throughout. Then everyone dies. You can't tell me that wasn't meant to be at least a little bit funny on an intentional level. Everyone. Everyone dies. It's surely a blacker variety of comedy, but comedy nonetheless.
Then take a look at Romeo. Romeo is a teenage boy who kicks off the play in love with someone other than Juliet. Then he decides that the younger Juliet is the girl for him, abandons all thought of the previous girl, and elopes with Juliet. Then he murders her cousin, like any true hero of the story would. He is banished for his crimes. Juliet fakes her own death, but not before sending word to Romeo. Of course, Romeo doesn't wait for official news statements or anything, he listens to gossip, and buys up some poison. Then he kills people on the way to Juliet's crypt (because killing people is the one thing Romeo is competent at), and ultimately poisons himself. Juliet wakes up to her dead husband on the floor, and as any emotional thirteen year old widow might, takes her own life. Everyone is sad. Romeo's mother also commits suicide. Romeo is ultimately responsible for a dozen deaths. "Everything is Romeo's fault" was the thesis of my ninth grade paper (which I aced, by the way).
Of course, the whole thing is only able to happen because of teenagers being teenagers. They jump from one love to the next with little thought. They get married in a fit of teenage rebellion so they can get laid (which the 1968 film--the only Romeo and Juliet film worth watching--actually addresses). They fall in and out of love with little thought, they act impulsively, they do things without thinking, Romeo gets into fights, and so on. They couldn't act more teenager-y if they tried.
Ultimately, Romeo and Juliet were impulsive teenagers who were never meant to be together at all (star-crossed means that they went against fate to do so, and they paid the price for that). Rash actions lead to over the top consequences. It is darkly hilarious. I have no idea how it ever came to be considered a great romance.