Taylor Swift's "Love Story" - A Review
High school English teachers will agree with me: Taylor Swift made teaching Romeo and Juliet a difficult task. The lyrics to Taylor Swift's "Love Story" continue to confuse young pupils who insist that the story of Romeo and Juliet is about two lovers who are about to run away but instead get married in the end. Anyone who has read Romeo and Juliet will tell you that this is absolutely false. For the many young people who have not read Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, I'm sorry to tell you that the two lovers do not get away in the end. They commit suicide.
Now, I would like to clarify that in no way am I criticizing Taylor Swift. Sure, some people compliment her take on the timeless tale and say that she's a creative hopeless romantic who wanted to give a positive spin on the tragedy. But as an individual who knows Shakespeare and prefers him over Swift, I have to say I'm quite annoyed with this song.
Misconstrued References Galore
When it comes to matching the absurdity of young love present in the play Romeo and Juliet, Taylor Swift does an excellent job. The couple meets and instantly falls in love. There is no character development in this story. Sure, she only has about four minutes to summarize the story, but the lyrics jump from Juliet recognizing Romeo at the party to Juliet screaming "Please don't go." This just reeks of teenage hormones. Not love.
I would also like to point out that if Taylor Swift wanted to create a love story about forbidden love, why reference a story like Romeo and Juliet? Sure it's the most popular love story in the English speaking world, but the real story of Romeo and Juliet is about destructive passion and not about fairy tale romance. Next time, Swift's songwriters might want to choose a more appropriate love story to base their song on.
One more bizarre reference I would like to point out:
"Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter...And my daddy said 'stay away from Juliet'"
I'm sorry? Did you just reference the Scarlet Letter? A story about adultery and forbidden physical relations? Yes, for those who have not read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, I would like to quickly fill you in. The Scarlet Letter is about a woman who is impregnated by a minister and forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her clothes. The story is about sin, guilt, and defying society's norms--just to scratch the surface. I'm not sure why Taylor decided to throw this in there...unless she is implying that Romeo isn't allowed near her because she is an adulterer...
Stick to What You're Good At
To put it nicely, and to wrap up my review, Taylor Swift is a cute, hopeless romantic who needs to stick to creating her own love stories instead of twisting others. The song has a nice beat and girls love it, but it's also incredibly confusing for young girls who enter their high school English classes hoping to read stories with fairy tale endings. No, Hester and Dimmesdale do not run away with their child into the sunset, and no, Juliet does not buy a white dress after getting her father's permission to marry Romeo.
Taylor Swift Lyrics provided by TuneWiki. To read another interesting analysis of the song that I found helpful, visit Lit.Scribbles. And to read quick summaries on both Romeo and Juliet and The Scarlet Letter, go to SparkNotes.com.