In Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, it was said that the real tragedy is that everyone loses. Clearly the theme of loss frequently confronts each character in their own ways such as their death, loved ones death and star-crossed love. However it is most strikingly developed through the main characters; Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, Capulet and Montague who seem to be affected by the theme of lost much more personally than other characters. Yet, throughout the play there are traces of optimistic themes such as love and friendship shown in various scenes featuring these same characters. Even though it many seem that Romeo and Juliet has a tragic ending, many if not all the characters lived new experiences showing that they haven’t lost everything; the journey is more important than the end. Hence it is incorrect to say that the real tragedy of the play is that everyone loses.
Throughout the play Romeo experiences various forms of lost and also numerous bouts of optimistic emotions. When Tybalt killed Mercutio, Romeo lost his best friend to death and also unwillingly caused his best friend’s death by not duelling with Tybalt himself. Furthermore due to Romeo’s inaction he lost Mercutio’s faith in him just before the death.
The death of a loved one is also something Romeo deals with in the play. When he discovered that Juliet had passed away he feels that life means nothing without her and he sets out to join Juliet in the tomb. He feels the pain of knowing the one person who he truly loves is dead, creating irrational thinking, which in turn kills him.
Even though many events lead to death and loss for Romeo he has also experienced the feeling of love, which many people search for their whole lives but cannot find. The feeling itself is one that is precious and may only happen once a lifetime. Love brightened Romeo’s life greatly as before Juliet he was suffering from heartache over Rosaline, therefore his love for Juliet is one to be cherished. We see throughout the play that Romeo’s love for Juliet is strong and pure, even when he is told about Juliet’s death he goes to join her, as Romeo feels that he cannot live without her. I still will stay with thee, and never from with palace of dim night depart again. Act 5, Scene 3, Line 106. Thus through Romeo’s experiences of lost and love it seems as though love has conquered all showing that even though Romeo died he experienced love, which is a rare gift.
Juliet has suffered greatly from Romeo’s banishment and death, firstly having to take poison to avoid being married to Paris and then waking up to find her loved one drinking poison and dying. From this she has lost the person she loved and in turn kills herself with a dagger to join him in death. Juliet feels how Romeo felt; they cannot live without each other.
At the Capulet party Juliet falls in love with Romeo after she finds out that he is a Montague; son of her enemy. My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late. Act 1, Scene 5, Line 137. This arises the loss of free love, as they can’t be together due to their family names making them star-crossed lovers. Suddenly loving Romeo seems so difficult and wrong because he is her enemy. However even though they are star-crossed lovers, it doesn’t stop them from exchanging vows and secretly arranging marriage.
These events are a once in a lifetime occurrence for both Juliet and Romeo, as it is not easy to find the one you love out of all the crowds of people but yet under the circumstances they tried to follow their hearts instead of their family name. Thus it is obvious that though Juliet experienced much loss throughout the play she also felt happiness with the person she loves and marriage, which shows that she did not lose everything.
The explicit playboy of the play, Mercutio experienced death itself by being killed by Tybalt. He also feels as though Romeo betrayed him for not fighting and letting Tybalt kill him. Due to Romeo not fighting Mercutio has lost trust in him.
At the party Mercutio’s bliss was vividly expressed through his expression and actions. If love be rough with you, be rough with love: Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down. Act 1, Scene 4, Line 26. This shows that Mercutio is not one to be sombre over love, he finds it to be like a game and doesn’t take it too seriously. He would rather have fun out with parties than in love unlike Romeo. Clearly Mercutio enjoyed his life to the fullest, letting no one bring him down and even though he was murdered he knew was happiness was, which is not a complete loss.
The Capulet’s and Montague’s ancient grudge caused both Romeo and Juliet’s death, without the family feuds Romeo and Juliet could’ve easily been marriaged and didn’t have to hide from their parents nor the gangs surrounding each family. See what scourge is laid upon your hate. That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love. All are punish’d. Act 5, Scene 3, Line 292. With their children’s death both Montague and Capulet resolve their disagreements and realised how pitiful their grudge was. Yet with the loss of their children the ancient grudge was put aside showing even though much was lost, something was also gained.
The play Romeo and Juliet has numerous themes of loss affecting each character. But even though the play may seem like a tragedy as many characters die in the end, they still lived their lives and had their optimistic experiences. Romeo and Juliet with their passionate love for each other, defying their family names for love, Mercutio with his candid personality and Capulet and Montague ending their ancient grudge. Therefore it is incorrect to brand this play to be a tragic love story about loss.