Love is Doomed to Failure in Both Romeo and Juliet and Cal

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Love is Doomed to Failure in Both Romeo and Juliet and Cal

Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story in the English literary

tradition. In Romeo and Juliet, love is a violent, ecstatic,

overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties and

emotions. In the course of the play, the young lovers are driven to

defy their entire social world: families ('Deny thy father and refuse

thy name,' Juliet asks, 'Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, /

And I'll no longer be a Capulet'); friends (Romeo abandons Mercutio

and Benvolio after the feast in order to go to Juliet's garden); and

ruler (Romeo returns to Verona for Juliet's sake after being exiled by

the Prince on pain of death). In comparison to Shakespeare's

Renaissance play, Cal was written at a very different time in a very

different style. Bernard McClaverty's novel, Cal, was published in

1983 based in a small Ulster town during "troubles" with the IRA.

Cal's unfulfilled love for Marcella is caused by social situations,

particularly religion and Cal's forced recruitment to the IRA.

Shakespeare's tragedy is a dramatic twist of desire, murder, exile and

suicide all provoked by a passionate love, which only lasts five days.

The development of love in Cal is set over six months, lacking the

dramatic excitement of a play, but enhanced by genuine realism. Romeo

and Juliet and Cal are linked; both portray a love across a divide. In

other words we see two lovers in both stories that cannot maintain a

loving relationship, because of their differences. Also, both stories

have an unhappy ending where we see the story end with a result of the

lovers dieing or being separated. Romeo and Juliet is based in the

beautiful Italian city of Verona. The characters have a high status;

both families are wealthy and important within the city. Shakespeare

concentrates on the doomed love between the young lovers. In contrast,

the main characters in Cal are working class, reliant upon social

conditions. For example, Cal is unemployed at the beginning and

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how juliet asks, 'or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love.
  • Analyzes how the story ends with an unhappy ending.
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