Many Types of Love
Romeo and Juliet
One of the many themes of Romeo and Juliet is the strength of love. In the play, different types of love form between the characters. Shakespeare uses these types of love in the play to not only keep the audience on their toes, wanting more, but also to develop a tragedy, and something unexpected. Shakespeare used true romantic, community, misplaced, and caring but conflicting love, not only between Romeo and Juliet, but between Friar Lawrence and the city of Verona, the Nurse and Juliet, and Lady Capulet and Capulet with Juliet. Collectively, the different types of love, all of which are strong in their own right, allow Shakespeare to explore the tensions even something desirable and sought after, love, can cause in peoples’ lives.
The love between Romeo and Juliet helped to develop the theme of the play. Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another was the only example of true romantic love in the play. In the beginning of the play, Romeo had an obsession or one sided lust for Rosaline, which he believed to be love. Romeo’s lust for Rosaline was only physical, the readers realize when he stated, ‘Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold” (I. i. 215). At this point in the play, Romeo admitted, but did not realize, that he wanted Rosaline only physically, and that he had no true emotional attraction to her. The readers of the play also realize that the love between Romeo and Juliet is not just a lust during the balcony scene when Juliet said, “Deny thy father and refuse thy name” (II. Ii. 34). At this moment Juliet admitted that she was willing to give up her name as Capulet and change it to Montague, the name her parents had hated for so long, just so she could marry Romeo. In the midst of saying this, readers learn that her love was true because she was willing to do what ever it took to marry Romeo, even if it meant leaving her parents behind. This was surprising because Juliet had extreme loyalty to her parents, she had always done anything they asked of her, but the very moment she found out that Romeo was a Montague she was willing to cast aside her parents and run off with Romeo. As it was stated earlier the love between Romeo and Juliet was the only true love in the entire play. As written by Franklin M. Dickey, “Romeo and Juliet are all in all to one another, the radiance of their shared love illumines them with growing beauty, but casts little light on the world around them” (Dickey 467), signifying that Romeo and Juliet’s love was strong enough to last even in secrecy when it could not be shared with anyone around them. It was obvious that the two lovers were happier when they met, especially Romeo who was able to get over his obsession of Rosaline. Furthermore, the lovers were upset when the future looked unpromising. Juliet grieved for days on end for what was thought to be the death of her cousin Tybalt which was truly the grieving of the exiled Romeo. Herman Ulrici wrote of the lovers, “Their love retains its rights, for, in death the lovers are united with the sanction of their parents; …” (Ulrici 431) demonstrating that the lovers’ bond was so strong it was even able to rid their parents hatred for each other, even if it was after Romeo and Juliet’s death. This statement is just one of many examples of how true and strong Romeo and Juliet’s love was. Not only was their love strong, it was innocent. Their love was the only love not corrupt like every other relationship around them, as this statement by Franklin M. Dickey illustrates, “Indeed one of the marks of the lovers’ innocence is that they remained untouched by the experience of disillusionment…” (Dickey 467). Romeo and Juliet’s love was also innocent. It was not a love for wealth and power like the relationship between Lady Capulet and Capulet, nor was it a give and take relationship like the Nurses and Juliet’s.
Friar Laurence loved for the greater good of people. He did not particularly love Romeo and Juliet as he...
Bibliography: Dickey, Franklin. “Not Wisely but Too Well: Shakespeare’s Love Tragedies.” The Huntington Library, (1957). 161; excerpted and reprinted in Shakespeare for Students. Vol. 1. ed. Mark w. Scott (Detroit: Gale Research, 1992). pp. 467.
Lee, Michelle. "Romeo and Juliet." Shakespearean Criticism. 106. (2007): n. page. Web. 12 Feb. 2012.
Shakespeare, William. "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet." Literature. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2009. 941-1049. Print.
Ulrici, Herman. “Romeo and Juliet.” Shakespeare’s Dramatic Art: History and Character of Shakespeare’s Plays (1876). 381-97; excerpted and reprinted in Shakespeare Criticism. Vol. 5. Mark W. Scott (Kansas City: Gale Research, 1987). pp.431.
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