Comparing Different Types of Love in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Comparing Different Types of Love in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

The three different examples of love between Romeo and Juliet, Romeo

and Rosaline and Paris and Juliet do share some similar aspects, but

they also have their own differences. These three different types of

love show us the variations of love and how it can mask itself into

different forms.

Romeo's 'love' for Rosaline. He was portrayed as a Petrarchan lover

and his 'love' was simply an infatuation. He did not take time to know

Rosaline or understand her, but thought that he truly loved her. In

actual fact, he was only attracted to her because of her beauty; "The

all-seeing sun/Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun." Romeo

knows that Rosaline does not love him, that the relationship is not

mutual. Romeo became depressed when he realised that Rosaline did not

love him. He was moody and withdrawn. His use of oxymorons such as

"bright smoke, cold fire, sick health" shows his uncertainty and

confusion of this 'love' he has for Rosaline. Romeo's love for

Rosaline is clearly infatuation, which really is not true love.

Similarly, we question Paris' 'love' for Juliet. Did he really love

her? His love for Juliet was not as straightforward. He did not even

know Juliet, probably falling for her beauty rather that loving her

for who she really was. It was probably superficial, but we cannot

completely ignore his attempts to show 'love'. He risks his reputation

as a noble by visiting Juliet's grave in the dead of the night so

secretly and suspiciously. Also, when Romeo kills him he asks to be

put in her tomb, "If thou be merciful, Open the tomb, lay me with

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...d be one that was approved

and acknowledged. Not like the one between Romeo and Juliet, where the

choice to get wedded was based purely on their own decision and not

one that was consulted with their own parents. Compared with Romeo's

love for Rosaline, his best friends knew about it, Benvolio having

found out when he spoke to Romeo, and probably telling Mercutio. It

wasn't a total secret but was kept hidden from his parents.

It is obvious that the love Romeo has for Juliet is true and deep, it

is also reciprocated, unlike the one between Romeo and Rosaline, and

Paris and Juliet. Also, the three relationships showed signs of

hastiness and rashness, which resulted in a short-lived and rather

brief relationship. However, the love did affect the characters in

some way or other and had changed Romeo into a better person.
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