What, in your opinion, is the true theme of Romeo & Juliet?
As I see it, good literature is good literature because it combines lots of themes that are enmeshed in ways that can’t easily be separated. I don’t think it’s possible to pick out one theme and say this is the one. That’s one of the reasons why something well written can be enjoyed in different ways by different kinds of people.
But what I think is important and significant about Romeo and Juliet (and I’ve said this many times before: have a look at my tags and you’ll see my general approach) is the way it depicts young people coming of age to find themselves in a toxic and violent society which they didn’t create but which rules and dictates their lives.
Shakespeare’s Verona shows a world of hatred that young men are assimilated into through masculine codes of honour and bravado. It’s a society violently divided for no better reason than that one house is ‘the enemy’ of another because of a feud that is never explained (which is important in itself because it shows that for the majority of people involved in the feud the reason doesn’t matter).
The love story is important because it highlights the toxicity and twistedness of Verona through the pure simplicity of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. It shows how something as natural as sexuality, teenage love and infatuation is made unacceptable because of unnatural and artificially created circumstances. It reveals the arbitrariness of the feud when something so simple can cross the supposed divide between the houses, making it obvious that the hatred is inherited rather than inherent.
So, for me, the significant aspects of Romeo and Juliet bring together many themes. It’s about love, to be sure, but it’s also about sex, social constraints and conformity, the lack of freedom, hatred, and maturity.