Love in all its Forms in – Romeo and Juliet Essay
The theme of love is probably the most common theme in all literature and Romeo and Juliet is no exception. The theme of love is predominant throughout the entire of play of Romeo and Juliet. There are many different forms of love and Shakespeare incorporates many of them into his “Romeo and Juliet” play. In “ Romeo and Juliet” Shakespeare brings out the cruel superficial love Romeo has for Rosaline, the bawdy, physical, and sexual love that Shakespeare expressed through Nurse and Mercutio, the contractual love Paris has for Juliet, the compassionate, paternal, and caring love Capulet has for Juliet , and finally the spiritual emotional and true love Romeo and Juliet have for each other.
In the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet Romeo is lovesick. He is in love with a girl named Rosaline, a relative of Juliet. Rosaline does not love Romeo back, which causes Romeo to be love sick. Romeo states his love sick and sad feelings by saying
“Why, such is love’s transgressions. Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast, which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest with more of thine. This love that thou hast shown Doth add more grief to too much of mine own (I:I, 33-39). This is an example of the immature and superficial love Romeo has for Rosaline and how he is grieving. Not only is this love for Rosaline superficial, it is also painful love. Romeo says “With Cupid’s arrow; she hath Dian’s wit; And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d, from love’s weak childish bow she lives unharmed. She will not stay the siege of love” (I:I, 205-209). This quote wonderfully describes how Rosaline does not love Romeo in return, which results in the cruel love Romeo has for her. This type of love is also a form of unrequited love.
Another form of love in Romeo and Juliet is the bawdy type of love. This type of love refers to the physical and sexual form of love. Shakespeare brings out this type of love with two superb and colorful characters. These characters are Mercutio and Nurse, who each in their own demonstrated this kind of love and mindset. Mercutio and Nurse make many bawdy comments throughout the play such as “An old hare hoar, And an old hare hoar, Is very good meat in lent; But a hare that is hoar, Is too much for a score, when it hoars ere to be spent” (II:IV, 127-132 ). This quote spoken by Mercutio shows how he has quite a bawdy sense of humor and how he tends to focus on the physical side of love.
Nurse also brings out the physical side of love in act one, scene three by expressing “A man, young lady! Lady, such a man As all the world – why, he’s a man of wax”(I:III, 127-132). A “man of wax” refers to a man of striking beauty, or a man with no imperfections.
Paris’ love for Juliet symbolizes another form of love that Shakes brought out in his play of “Romeo and Juliet”. The love Paris has for Juliet is a contractual love (Novel analysis Romeo and Juliet). Paris does not actually love Juliet for who she, but he loves her for what she is. Paris did not fall in love with Juliet, but he fell in love with her name and title. This kind of love is typical for arranged marriages, such as the marriage that is supposed to happen between Paris and Juliet. Paris does not really know Juliet, he just knows her family’s status in Verona .Arranged marriages were common during these times (LoveToKnow Weddings), so it is no surprise the contractual marriages were common during this time period. (Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet)
In certain parts of the play, Lord Capulet comes across to the reader/viewer as a very compassionate man. He demonstrates his compassion mainly towards his daughter, Juliet. In act one, scene two of “Romeo and Juliet” The County Paris asked Capulet if he can have his daughter Juliet’s hand in marriage. Paris asked Capulet, “But now, my lord, what say you to my suit?” (I:II, 6). In this time period, a man in Capulet’s position would be very tempted to arrange for his daughter to be married to a man of such high status as Paris. The fact that Capulet thought about Juliet’s well-being and happiness first truly reflects his caring and compassionate paternal love for his daughter Juliet.
Capulet shows his compassion for Juliet again in act three by saying In the play, “Thou counterfeits a bark, a sea, a wind: For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea, Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is, Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;’” ”(I:V, 132-135). This admirable example of an extended metaphor truly expresses Lord Capulet’s paternal love for his daughter. He is concerned over his daughter’s well-being and goodwill. She is crying over Romeo’s exile, and Capulet does not know that this is the real reason. Capulet does not know the real reason why Juliet and assumes that she is mourning for Tybalt, her slain cousin.
Finally, Shakespeare brings out the emotional, spiritual and true love Romeo and Juliet have for each other. In Romeo and Juliet this type of love is brought as the superior form of love. When Romeo and Juliet meet, it is love at first sight for both of them. In a very poetic verse at the Capulet, Romeo expresses his feeling for Juliet by saying “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel on an Ethiop’s ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.” (I:VI, 44-49). Romeo idolizes Juliet and truly loves her. Unlike Romeo immature obsession with Rosaline, Romeo has genuine feelings for Juliet. Juliet also returns this love to Romeo when she says “Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self, Which is the god of my idolatry, And I’ll believe in thee.” (II:II, 112-114). From then on in, Romeo and Juliet start what turns out to be a passionate relationship. Their love for each other is nothing short of a fairytale romantic love, both being deeply love with each other. Their love for each other symbolizes everything that love should be; romantic, passionate, unselfish, and doing anything to be together. Romeo and Juliet’s superior love for each other causes much strife, and in the end, they end up killing themselves due to Romeo thinking Juliet was dead, when she really wasn’t. When Romeo thinks Juliet is dead, he fell as if he cannot go on, he drinks a poison and dies. Juliet wakes up and finds the dead Romeo and takes his dagger and kills herself. Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other was so strong that neither could go on without the other in their life. Their love is so strong they make the ultimate sacrifices for each other, their own lives.
Romeo and Juliet brought out many types of love throughout the play. There was the cruel superficial love Romeo had for Rosaline, the bawdy physical love Shakespeare expressed through Nurse and Mercutio, the contractual love Paris has for Juliet, the compassionate and paternal love Capulet had for Juliet, and last but certainly not least, the emotional, spiritual, and true love Romeo and Juliet shared. In the end, however, the love Romeo and Juliet had for each other comes out as the predominant form of love in the play. There love was tragic, but also so great that it has inspired many writers and dreamers for many generations after Shakespeare’s years.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet, Toronto, Harcourt Brace Canada, 1987
Novel Guide, Theme analysis, no date or writer indicated
lovetoknow Weddings, History of Weddings, 10 October 2005, no author indicated