Love in Romeo and Juliet

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The main theme in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is that of love, and the power it has to alter the course of the characters’ lives. Romeo and Juliet is a story about two teenagers who fell in love, which tragically leads to their untimely death. The story is about how their forbidden, hormone-driven love was unable to transcend above their respective family’s inherited conflict. It shows how love can sway people away from their moral obligations; how it can make our lives unpredictable. The kind of forbidden love this story portrays, initially tears the two families apart. Sadly, it was only after Romeo and Juliet’s death that their love managed to bring the families to a new era of peace.

It is love that propels Juliet to a rushed transition from being an innocent girl into a responsible adult. When she meets Romeo, she is immediately infatuated with him and prepared to defy her parents and everything she has known without a second guess and eventually marry him in secret. We watch as she moves towards sexual and emotional maturity in Act III, sc. 2 when she anticipates the consummation of her marriage to Romeo. “Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night, that runaway eyes may wink, and Romeo, leap into these arms untalk’d of and unseen.” (III.2.5-7)

Romeo is presented at the beginning of the play as a blind lover, sensitive and melancholy, living a life defined by love rather than feud. However, in Act III, sc. 1, his fight with the Capulet, Tybalt, brings a clash to that world. He is reluctant to fight his new cousin-in-law, although his family would have expected him to. He abandoned his loyalty to his family and friends, especially Mercutio, to protect his love. He only slayed Tybalt out of anger once Mercutio was slayed.
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