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'Love is stronger than hate.' Discuss with reference to Romeo and...

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'Love is stronger than hate.' Discuss with reference to Romeo and Juliet.

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  • September 5, 2005
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Nobody who has either heard or seen the tale of "Romeo and Juliet" can deny that two of the strongest themes found within it are love and hate - in many different forms. Even in the beginning of the play, this is made known to the audience, primarily by the lines, "From forth the fated loins of these two foes, A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" (Prologue). This clearly shows both the hatred and love which can be found, but is not the only example. "Romeo and Juliet" not only has the love between the two main characters, but the brotherly love and sinister hatred between many others.

It is harder to say whether love or hate is more prominent in "Romeo and Juliet", but love plays an extremely important role - especially when the two lovers meet for the first time. Right away, Romeo is awestruck at Juliet's beauty, proclaiming, "Did my heart love til now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night!" (I.v). Although he claims to be 'in love' with Rosaline, he becomes a victim of falling 'in love at first sight'. This love is certainly not unrequited love though - although Juliet did not even know his name, she still asks, "Go ask his name. If he be married, my grave is to be like my wedding bed" (I.v). Clearly, she is already so much in love that she shall 'die from grief' if she finds out Romeo is already married.

Although Romeo is in love with Juliet so much that he refuses to fight his one-time enemy, the murder of a close friend (whether accidental or not) forces a violent reaction out of him. When originally 'taunted' by Tybalt, he refuses to fight, saying, "I do protest I have never injured thee, but love thee better than thou canst devise...And so, good Capulet...be satisfied" (III.i). He further continues in this way, by saying, "Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up" (III.i). However, Tybalt does not listen to reason, as was proven earlier on by his stating, "Peace? I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee"...