Love or Dependence?
Romance can cause both men and women to act frivolously, which makes the difference between love and lust difficult to distinguish. The desire of another human being leads to irrational thought and actions. Sometimes one will create sensations of love where no love exists. As demonstrated in both William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, and Po Hsing-Chien’s The Story of Miss Li one may create feelings of love in order to overcome a recent or persisting tragedy.
In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s breakup with his former romantic interest, Rosaline, left him unsuspectingly susceptible to superficial feelings of love. His affection towards both Rosaline and Juliet is shallow because he is immature and inexperienced. The lust Romeo feels towards Juliet is healthy and normal for a sixteen year old boy, but the failure of his past relationship causes him to act rashly and selfishly. Friar Lawrence, Romeo’s wise friend and trusted advisor even doubts how Romeo’s love for Juliet could be true so shortly after his breakup, “Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, /So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies /Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes” (Shakespeare, 89). The friar believes that Romeo falls in love with a woman’s appearance, not her soul. Love of the human figure is a very Renaissance ideal, while love of the whole person and soul is a very Christian notion. These two views of love conflict and Shakespeare represents this debate in the conversation between Lanza 2
Romeo and Friar Lawrence. Because the setting of Romeo and Juliet takes place in Verona in the midst of the Italian Renaissance, the absence of female physical beauty leaves Romeo to feel incomplete, therefore he (perhaps subconsciously) seeks out to fill the void left by Rosaline. Although one could argue that Romeo and Juliet’s attraction is “true love,” it is evident that he is using Juliet as a rebound to get over the...
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