Romeo and Juliet: Love or Lust Essay
Romeo and Juliet: Love or Lust
Reputed to be the best love story ever written by an extensive number of resources, there is no doubt that Romeo and Juliet demonstrate a concise image of unconditional love. However, the real question is what was Shakespeare’s opinion on what true love looks like? And since Romeo and Juliet only knew each other for less than a week, should the reader automatically assume that they were truly in love, or should there be further suspicion on whether or not the love displayed was actually love, or simply lust?
To answer this question various characters and points displayed in Romeo and Juliet must be explored, such as the different views of love that are presented by each character, the image of love that is revealed by Romeo and Juliet themselves, and Shakespeare’s way of exhibiting an outline of authentic passion. There is definitely a strong opinion of love expressed by characters such as Mercutio and the nurse. Both indicate that their understanding of love is primarily sexual and extremely bawdy.
This can be presented in numerous examples, one where Mecurtio is speaking to Romeo “By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh, And the demesnes that there adjacent lie” Although there is no reason stated as to why Mercutio feels this particular way about love, one can assume that perhaps he’s been through a bad experience with a woman, or possibly has never felt genuinely in love. The nurse also has many sexual implications, such as “Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest of age. ” There is no reason stated as to why the nurse feels this way about love.
Another outlook on love is that of Juliet’s mother, who states that Paris is young and indicates that he is also very handsome when trying to convince Juliet to agree to marry him. Her view of love is purely physical, to do with money and appearance rather than personality. And yet a further idea of love is the one presented in the beginning of the play, the “love” that Romeo has for Rosaline, which in today’s terms would most likely be called puppy love, basically an intense but relatively shallow romantic attachment, typically associated with adolescents.
This stereotype of young love is proven to be true in this play, because Romeo moves on from Rosaline incredibly quickly. Lastly, the fourth notion toward love is Paris’ love for Juliet, which is not really any of the above but more about following tradition rather than actually having romantic feelings for her. All these different types of “love” displayed are meant to enhance Romeo and Juliet’s love, a bit like a character foil. However, Romeo and Juliet, despite everyone’s views and opinions still manage to contain true love, or at least the most superlative image of love in the play.
The next evaluation to be made is Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other. Was it just puppy love or was it something more? One point to take into consideration is that Romeo and Juliet were willing to die for each other. When Romeo first discovered that Juliet was dead, his immediate thought was to go to her grave and kill himself. He did not even consider moving on. And when Juliet saw Romeo dead, her instant response was to grab something to kill herself with. When she discovered that Romeo didn’t have any poison left on him, she reached for the dagger and stabbed herself with scarcely any hesitation.
However, there is contradiction of whether that act of suicide was based on love or just on all the emotions at the current time along with the events that were assembled up to that point (Tybalt’s death, Mercutio’s death, Juliet’s fight with her father, etc. ). The second point to be made is that there is lot of contrast in the play as to what love really is. As shown above, there are several different opinions as to what love should look like that are displayed by many different characters.
This goes to show that even though Romeo and Juliet were both bombarded by different attitudes as to what love is, they still managed to show a completely different aspect of love, unlike any type of love they may have ever seen. Another attribute of the novel is the fact that ages were never mentioned by either Romeo or Juliet. In modern day, age is one of the first questions asked when it comes to relationships, but with Romeo and Juliet age did not seem to matter. Neither did the fact that they were from feuding families.
Many believe that fate brought Romeo and Juliet together, and that they were meant to be before they even crossed each other’s paths. Although they were destined to die, there was a lot of emphasis in the play that their deaths could easily been avoided had one or two things happened sooner. For example, if the letter that Friar Lawrence wrote to Romeo would have actually reached him, Romeo and Juliet probably would not have died; and if Juliet wouldn’t have hesitated before taking the potion, she would have woken up when Romeo entered the tomb.
These factors, although they may have seemed insignificant at the time, played a major role in Romeo and Juliet’s fate; and although they were still young, Romeo and Juliet could not emotionally survive without each other, which is why suicide was the first and only option that came to both of their minds when they each discovered that they would have to live without their significant other. Romeo and Juliet’s relationship definitely conveyed a sense of true love, especially since they committed suicide when it seemed unnecessary.
Given the events building up to the final scene, the deaths of the two lovers could have undoubtedly been avoided. But could Shakespeare still have expressed unconditional, irrevocable love without the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? The play could have easily been a comedy, but Shakespeare tells us from the very beginning that it is not. There is also a lot of contrast in the play as to the true definition of love. Is love purely sexual? Is love just about image, status and wealth? Is love connected to tradition?
Or is love at its most distilled level defined as being unable to emotionally survive in the absence of your paramour? The latter concept is certainly what Shakespeare demonstrates throughout his entire play. He indirectly gives the reader a mirror image of what true love should look like. Without the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, there would be no sense of true love, because the story would simply be just another ordinary, and even mediocre, “happy ending. ” Since it is a tragedy, there is sympathy and sadness directed toward the story, rather than happiness and joy.
Without the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare could not have shown his readers what real love is, or at least his perception of it. Without the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, the lovers would never have been recognized as the most famous couple in history. In conclusion, Shakespeare’s play contains the perfect escalation toward the ultimate tragedy, the untimely deaths of our hero Romeo and heroine Juliet. First, there are the varying views of love that help to protrude the lovers’ relationship. These different views also help to conduct a sense of ontroversy in the play. They help the reader to understand what Romeo and Juliet are up against.
After all, most people assume a viewpoint similar to the people that they are around most. Romeo and Juliet, therefore, could not easily have avoided the influences of Mercutio and the nurse, both of whom have a crude analysis of love. Second, it was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together. Romeo came to the Capulet party mostly to feast his eyes on Rosaline, but after seeing Juliet, he completely forgets about Rosaline and moves on to Juliet instantly.
This represents a crucial part in the play because it also exhibits love at first sight, a controversial concept but one that does have validation for many couples. Thirdly, Shakespeare had to plot the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in order to ultimately show us real love. There was absolutely no way around it; if he wanted to establish the deep devotion, affection and passion that Romeo and Juliet had for one another, then the only way to do so was to have them both die. Their deaths could only be sufficient by them killing themselves for one another.
Without this significant part of the play, Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another would not have been conveyed so prominently. And without all the deaths before them, Romeo and Juliet probably would not have died either. Shakespeare carefully positioned every death in this play to have an exact meaning and purpose that crescendos to the ending. To show us true love, the young couple had to die. “For never was there a story of more woe, then this of Juliet and her Romeo. “
Subject: Romeo and Juliet,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 29 December 2016
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