Romeo and Juliet: Lust vs. Love

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Lust versus Love

In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, by William Shakespeare, the two adolescents fall in love simultaneously and instantly, in other words experience love at first sight. This starts an intensely powerful, but brief relationship and marriage between the two. Often, love and lust can be confused as the same thing and, although they generally go hand in hand, they are not. This is shown through; Romeo’s love for Rosaline, which seemed to be around equal to that which he expresses for Juliet, vanishes as soon as he sees Juliet; the adolescents are brought together by lust, not love since they built their relationship on sexual attraction; and they got married after one day, which is not enough time to fall in love. As powerful and beautiful as their relationship was, Romeo and Juliet experienced lust, not love.

In the beginning of the play, Romeo confesses his love for a girl named Rosaline to his kinsman Benvolio. He describes this love to be very intense, and claims he can not love any other woman. The emotion that he has practically takes up his whole life because it is all he can think about, and he mopes around in woe of the fact that she didn’t love him back. Despite this fact, the only trait he speaks of when talking about Rosaline is her beauty, and not any characteristic of her personality, other than her refusal to be with him which is a negative trait if any. After he goes on for several paragraphs about his unbreakable love for this girl, he sees Juliet and instantly forgets about Rosaline, claiming that he had never loved before he saw Juliet. How, then, can we say that Romeo was truly in love with Rosaline if her existence slipped her mind in one instant that he gazed upon another girl? If he had mistaken his feelings for Rosaline for love, he could have been mistaken in his emotions for Juliet as well. It is also difficult to accept his emotion of love considering that the only thing he spoke of was their beauty. An attraction based on...
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