Romeo and Juliet's Tragic Flaws

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Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ends in tragedy, because of some of Romeo and Juliet’s faults. Romeo and Juliet obviously rush into things. They do not listen to the advice of Friar Lawrence and end up paying the ultimate price. They also ignore the obvious factors that prohibit Romeo and Juliet from ever being happy together. Romeo and Juliet are also very immature and are groomed for social disaster. Romeo and Juliet are also not in love, but in lust. The combination of impatience, immaturity, and ignoring other’s advice leads to the tragedy of these two “star-crossed lovers.”

Romeo and Juliet are notorious for their impetuousness. They rush into love extremely quickly, and do not think their relationship through. We see this in their very first encounter with each other, and throughout their brief, tragic relationship. The first time that Romeo and Juliet meet, they are immediately attracted to each other. They both follow up on these emotions and end up falling for each other. Romeo starts the relationship when he approaches Juliet and immediately begins to flirt with her. Romeo initiates the conversation with a line designed to get an immediate kiss. He says, “If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: / My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (1.5. 92-95) Then they kiss! Juliet does not even know the man she is kissing. After she flirts with Romeo, she has to ask her nurse, “Go ask his name.—If he be married/ My grave is like to be my wedding bed.” Juliet does not even know who she is in love with, but she is already considering marriage. Romeo is also oblivious of who he is attracted to. He has to ask Juliet’s nurse, “What is her mother?” (1.5.111) Romeo and Juliet have both fallen for people they do not know, and yet, the relationship is already decided upon. The chorus proclaims that, “Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,” (prologue line 5) They both have fallen for each other.

But are Romeo and Juliet in love or in lust? Both Romeo and Juliet believe that they are in love, but there are plenty of arguments for the two lovers to be in lust. For instance, Romeo first falls for Rosaline and believes that he is passionately in love with her. Then he leaves her and rejects ever having loved her. He says, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.” (1.5. 50-51) Romeo also just describes Juliet by her physical attributes. He describes her eyes as, “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,” (2.2.15) and he wishes to be a glove on her hand just so he can touch her cheek. He also makes other remarks about Juliet’s beauty, such as, “Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” (1.5.42) and “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. / So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows / As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. (1.5.45-47) Juliet is also guilty of lust. She kisses Romeo the very first time that they meet and immediately falls for him. She remarks to herself after first meeting him, “My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late!” (1.5.138) This physical attraction on both parties reveals that Romeo and Juliet are not in love but in lust. Lust is what runs their relationship and thus leads them to their untimely fate. Romeo and Juliet are blinded by this lust and they thus ignore the potential dangers of their relationship.

Romeo and Juliet both realize the great risk that they are putting themselves in by falling for each other, but choose to ignore this risk. These two lovers jeopardize their lives and run the risk of inflaming the feud between their families. The willingness to risk everything can either show the foolishness of the young lovers, or it can show the power of lust. It is possible that Shakespeare is trying to tell us that lust can conquer many boundaries. But the end-result of Romeo and Juliet suggests...
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