Romeo and Juliet: Is Love Pleasing or Poisonous?

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“Love is the root of death.” This saying, once preached by the famous singer Oscar Wilde, is seen constantly throughout Romeo and Juliet. Love is a powerful emotion in the real world, changing lives for the good when practiced properly. However, when used poorly, it is a poison, resulting in disaster for the user, and others involved. Love was used very poorly in Romeo and Juliet, and the intense emotion ironically lead to the path of death for Capulets, Montagues, and noblemen, by misleading, and conquering lovers. Whether it be intentional or not, love inevitably causes pain not only in our world, but in the world of Romeo and Juliet. One might think the death of Tybalt and Mercutio was solely due to the rivalry between the Capulet and Montague families. However, when looking closer at the text, Mercutio’s death was in big part, a result of Romeo’s love for Juliet, and Tybalt died because of Romeo’s compassion for his friend Mercutio. When Romeo refused to fight Tybalt, “The reason that I love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage...therefore farewell,” his love for Juliet released him from the fight, opening the door for Mercutio to draw as he needed to protect Romeo’s honor who turned down a dual (3.1.64). Later, Romeo intervened in the fight because as he didn’t want his friend fighting with his wife’s cousin. This proves that his love for Juliet misled him by getting him involved in the sword fight - a recipe for disaster. Romeo’s intervention allowed for Mercutio to be stabbed, “Why the devil you came between us? I was hurt under your arm,” showing how Romeo’s affection for Juliet made him think it was okay to step into a sword fight, causing the death of his good friend Mercutio (3.1.102). Furthermore, when Tybalt returned after killing Mercutio, Romeo’s love for his best friend caused him to foolishly murder Tybalt, “Mercutio slain!...And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now,” showing that he was mislead by brotherly love for Mercutio,...
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