Inconstant Passion with Consequences

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Inconstant Passion With Consequences

Extreme passion results in irrational actions with horrifying consequences. The indecisive and fervent whims regarding love and the human heart are often selfish and fickle. For the victims of love, destruction is often inevitable. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, unrequited love forces both Romeo and Juliet to commit suicide, as neither one believes it is possible to continue life without the other. Both, through mere days of desperation, elation, deception, and grief, were ultimately cheated out of their lives by their love. Shakespeare develops a similar opinion through Helena in A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Helena is able to recognize love as a volatile creature, yet with uncontrollable power over the heart.The transient nature of love is channeled through deception and clouded judgement.

Although seemingly constant, love changes on impulse to align with wanton desire. In Act I, scene 2, of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is introduced as a classic Petrarchan lover, pinning over the beautiful Rosaline, who has sworn to be chaste. Though Benvolio attempts to convince Romeo to seek other women, he swears that he shall never love another woman. However, mere hours later, he pledges his love to Juliet at the Capulet ball. After telling the Friar of his new love for Juliet, the sensible Friar exclaims,

“Holy Saint Francis! What a change is here!

Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,

So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

Jesu Maria! What a deal of brine

Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!”


The Friar is attempting to exemplify Romeo’s instant transition from Rosaline to Juliet. His mention of the ...

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... meet a quick and fiery end as well, as compared to the reaction between fire and gunpowder. Though unable to control their feelings for one another, Romeo and Juliet are fully responsible for the methods and decisions they made, as well as the consequences of their actions. Their passion and dedication are admirable, yet sadly misguided. The boundary between love and hate is blurred in Romeo and Juliet, with extreme passion often causing either love or hate to be sacrificed in the name of the other. This parallel is a precursor to the nature of love and its appeal to human nature. The selfish desires of humanity are sated by the indulgence in temperamental love, which, when underestimated, will not hesitate to prey upon the evil cravings of the human soul.

Works Cited

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
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