Romeo and Juliet: a Tale of Lust

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Romeo and Juliet is a tragic tale of what happens when people rush into relationships and act on lust and infatuation instead of love. In the beginning of the play, Romeo is completely in love with Rosaline and exaggerates his love when he says that no one can be more beautiful than she is(Shakespeare 1.2.90-95). Only a couple of hours after exclaiming how he could never love anyone other than Rosaline he meets Juliet and, after a few minutes, forgets about Rosaline and exclaims his love for Juliet: “She doth teach the torches to burn bright!/…Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight/For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (Shakespeare 1.5.43-52). Romeo bases his “love” for both Rosaline and Juliet on their beauty, not on actually getting to know them, which Friar Lawrence calls him out on when he says, “[Your] love then lies/ not truly in [your] heart, but in [your] eyes.”(Shakespeare 2.3.67-68). Also, who’s to say Romeo’s feelings for Juliet won’t pass just as they did for Rosaline? Juliet and Romeo decide to get married to each other only 2 hours after meeting, which is not enough time to decide to spend eternity with each other. This rash, impulsive, lust-based thinking is the opposite of what a loving relationship should have, patience. Juliet also acts on lust when she makes multiple racy remarks about wanting the night to come faster so she can enjoy the “amorous rites” of being married(Shakespeare 3.2.1-30), which is also to suggest that their lust for each other is a reason why they got married with such haste, so that they could “possess the mansion of love”(Shakespeare 3.2.26-27). In the end, Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, not because they were in love, but because they thought they were in love. They confused lust with love which ultimately led to their deaths.
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