Romeo and Juliet and Love
Many people regard the love in Romeo and Juliet to be extremely romantic, passionate, and tragic. However, certain characters fall in and out of love frequently, hinting in that Shakespeare views love as fickle, or “puppy love”. For example, in the beginning of the play, Romeo is stricken with love for the lady Rosaline, who does not even know he exists. They have never spoken, yet Romeo swears eternal love for her just because of her looks. Ironically, he completely forgets about Rosaline as soon as he sees Juliet, swearing eternal love for her. He once again has only seen her beauty and has never spoken with her, yet he loves her. Another example is Paris’ love for Juliet. It is obvious that Paris does not truly love her; he only wants to marry her for her looks and to gain the approval of the wealthy Capulets. It can be argued the Rome’s love for Juliet is also “fake”. When he is banished from Verona, he says, “Tis torture, and not mercy. Heaven is here Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog And little mouse, every unworthy thing, Live here in heaven and may look on her, But Romeo may not” (143). When he is banished, the first comment he makes is that he will be unable to look at Juliet’s beauty instead off all he other things about her. He acts as if that is all he cares about; he does not even mention anything else about her. Another example is when he sees her in the death-like trance. He says, “O my love, my wife! Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty” (227). Even when she is appeared to be dead he only seems to mention her looks. Although their love is romantic, it would have never happened if they were less attractive.
Another thing Romeo and Juliet suggests about love is that love is the cause for hatred and violence. Love is the source of the two most spiteful and violent events in the play: the feud between the two families and the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet. One family member harmed one member of the other family, and the victim’s family retaliated back. The constant retaliation led to the extreme amount of hatred the two families have for each other. However, love was the main reason in why they kept fighting back instead of ending it before it became the huge fight it is now. The families loved each other so much that they could not allow their family members to be hurt without getting revenge. Their love blinded them; it completely overpowered them just like hate did. The second major violent event that occurred due to love was the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet. Ever since the two first met their love was plagued with violence. Tybalt swore to kill Romeo after seeing him at the Capulets’ party, and Romeo ended up killing him, leading to his banishment. Romeo, completely overwhelmed with love, thought the only way to solve this situation was to kill himself. Juliet also suffers from thought of suicide due to her love for Romeo, as when she finds out she has to marry Paris the first solution she thinks of is to kill herself with her knife. Their love for each other blinds their rational thinking, leading to their constant suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, in the end of the play, the very passionate love that brought the two together ends up causing their suicides. Their love causes them to think that living without the other is impossible, and the only way to preserve their love is through death.
Arguably, the most important thing Romeo and Juliet suggests about love is that love is a romantic, passionate force that has the power to make someone go against all their values. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet go against their families and friends in order to be together. One example is when Juliet asks Romeo to abandon his family. “Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (75). Unless they go against their families, they won’t be able to be with each other. They are going against everything they believe in by loving someone from a family they hate. Also, Romeo abandons his friends Mercutio and Benvolio in order to see Juliet. Finally, Romeo even goes against the ruler of Verona and risks his own life by staying with Juliet when he was banished. The passionate love they have for each other is too powerful to resist, which makes them keep coming back for each other no matter the situation. Their love is so romantic that it forces them to go against their families and even against the world.
Love is many things in the classic play Romeo and Juliet; it is a fake, artificial feeling, it is a cause of violence, and it is a powerful, romantic feeling that can overpower an individual. Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous love stories ever written, and it does an excellent job in using the theme of love. Love is ambiguous and a mystery, and it is up to the individual to interpret what love truly is.