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30 Seconds To Mars with the Bard

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When Jared Leto first wrote the song “Kings and Queens” for his rock band 30 Seconds to Mars’s new album, he wasn’t writing about a relationship. However if you take a close look at the song they could easily be the backdrop to Romeo and Juliet’s relationship with it’s optimistic tone and its daunting lyrics.
The song is titled “Kings and Queens” which could easily mean Romeo is the king and Juliet is his queen. Also Romeo and Juliet are both from wealthy families so the “Kings and Queens” could also be a reference to their well-off status. The song starts off with “Into the night/Desperate and broken”. The imagery you can get from this is Romeo sneaking to Juliet’s balcony. The “Desperate and broken” line could symbolize Romeo’s internal struggle. He’s desperate to see Juliet and to get her attention and he feels broken without her. This could also mean he’s desperate for love because the play starts off with him being in love with a girl named Rosaline (who does not intend to marry) and sneaking into the Capulets’ party to see her. However he sees Juliet and is instantly smitten with her and completely disregards Rosaline. Romeo may just be a lovesick fellow “desperate” for love and at first “broken” by Rosaline’s rejection and now by his new love for Juliet (due to the fact that she’s a Capulet and supposed to be his enemy).
The chorus goes “We were the kings and queens of promise/We were the victims of ourselves/Maybe the children of a lesser god/Between Heaven and hell”. The whole tone of the song sounds hopeful and reawakened so Romeo and Juliet could be a “promising” couple. Juliet and Romeo’s relationship could be what solves this old grudge between the Montagues and the Capulets. The “victims of ourselves” could foreshadow the tragic ending when both of the lovers commit suicide after thinking the other is dead. It can also be a metaphor for Romeo and Juliet being like each other’s murderers. Juliet’s fake death is what caused Romeo’s suicide which prompted Juliet’s suicide so technically in a sense Juliet contributed to and in theory caused the death of Romeo.
“Children of a lesser god/between heaven and hell” could symbolize the position Romeo and Juliet are in. They already feel detached from their family because strictly they’re not supposed to love each other but they can’t help themselves. Because their mothers and fathers can’t accept their love, they’re evidently not their parents because they’re breaking their vow of unconditional love to their child, cutting off the emotional ties with their son/daughter. The “lesser god” may be Friar Lawrence, Romeo’s holy advisor. Romeo feels close to Friar Lawrence and confides in him as he would a biological father. Spiritually Friar Lawrence, the “lesser god” is a father figure to Romeo and Juliet (making them his “children”) due to his supporting of their relationship.
Beginning the second verse are the words “Into your eyes/Hopeless and taken”, a candidate for an obvious description of Romeo’s feelings for Juliet. As mentioned before, Romeo is quick to fall in love making him a hopeless romantic, a term that corresponds with the lyrics. The verse continues with “We stole our new lives/Through blood and pain/In defense of our dreams”. There can be two understandings of this part. One interpretation of this line could be Romeo and Juliet running away through the streets, where many fights occurred between servants of the Montagues and the Capulets, to be together and live their dreams. This line could also be doing more foreshadowing to Romeo’s and Juliet’s death. It could literally represent the fact Romeo and Juliet took (stole) their lives with poison (pain) and a sword (blood) to be together (defending their dreams).
Foreshadowing also appears in the bridge. When it says “The age of man is over”, that can mean Juliet and Romeo have stopped caring about other people in their lives and their main focus is each other. It can also be significant of mankind not being present in Romeo and Juliet because since they die they’re no longer mankind but rather angels or spirits. Also possible referring to the lovers’ deaths and the aftermath is the lyric “All these lessons we’ve learned here have only just begun”. When Romeo’s and Juliet’s parents find them dead they start realizing how much their fighting is costing them. The “lessons we’ve learned here” could symbolize their wake up call about how their feuding is affecting the people around them and hurting them. Since the play ends right after the suicides the “have only just begun” part could be the future of the Capulets and the Montagues after Romeo and Juliet ends. This could mean the two families have learned to tolerate each other after seeing the negative impact of the grudge on their lives and their loved ones.
Overall, this song is a great choice to represent Romeo and Juliet because the lyrics can represent their entire relationship during the play from Romeo’s original love for Rosaline to the famous balcony scene where Juliet and Romeo makes their love vows to the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet and possibly the future of their two families after the play has ended. This song may not have originally been a love song but as shown here it could definitely be something to represent one of the most famous love stories of all time.



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