Shakespeare enthusiasts who follow the doings of celebrities – their courtships, marriages, divorces, births and deaths – might be struck by the Justin Bieber and Selina Gomez pictures and stories that are currently filling celebrity websites and magazines. They have broken up and they’re being compared with Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Indeed, pictures of them together could be publicity photos for a modern film version of the play.
The two years they have been dating is a long time in terms of teenage relationships. Romeo and Juliet lasted only a few days. It’s unfair to quote them, though, because of the tragic circumstances, ending in their deaths. It’s unlikely that Bieber and Gomez had to face anything like the problems that confronted Shakespeare’s famous teenage lovers.
Recent research has revealed that teenage love wilts within a year in most cases and, of course, that’s to be expected when one considers that it’s a time of life when change and development is very rapid. In fact only four percent of women and one percent of men advance from a teenage romance to marriage. So the two years of love enjoyed by Bieber and Gomez is quite an exceptional thing, particularly as young Justin’s fame has been meteoric and the adoration of his fans intense.
Scientists studying the brain tell us that the frontal lobe, which governs reasoning and judgment, isn’t fully developed until the early 20s. And so teenage love is particularly intense and reckless. Shakespeare knew that, of course, as he knew just about everything there was to know about the human condition. If he had made his star-crossed lovers twenty-somethings it wouldn’t have rung true. They would have perhaps been more like you and me, and therefore not as interesting as the young celebrities. Selina Gomez is now in her 20s and Bieber is getting there so we can heave a sigh of relief and look forward to the more relaxing stories about them that we get with other celebrities.