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Obsession in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Despite what many people think, Romeo and Juliet is not a love story; rather a story of desperation and obsession. People have been reading Shakespeare for hundreds of years and several people have mistaken it for a love story, due to the fact that Romeo loves Juliet so much he is willing to kill himself when he finds her supposedly dead; she does the same when she wakes up to find him dead. But in fact, Romeo is more taken aback by her beauty than he is in love with her. Juliet is intrigued by the fact someone could love her because her parents are very unsupportive of her. When the two find each other, they immediately become obsessed, mistaking this for love at first sight.

Romeo has an obsessive personality. The morning before he meets Juliet, he is obsessing on Rosaline. To see Rosaline, Romeo snuck into a Capulet’s party; once there, he meets Juliet and instantly he forgets his obsession of Rosaline, thinking Juliet is the most beautiful creature on earth. Friar Lawrence even acknowledges this when he states, “Young men’s love then lies / Not truly in their hearts but in their eyes” (II iii 67-68). Romeo’s affection is easily swayed from Rosaline to Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet are not supposed to be together. Upon seeing Romeo, Juliet sends The Nurse to find out who he is. Nurse returns saying, “His name is Romeo, and a Montague, / The only son of your great enemy” (I v 36-37). They instantly become desperate to see each other all the time, ignoring the fact that their families are feuding. Juliet likes the proverbial forbidden fruit, saying, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called / Retain that dear perfection which he owes / Without that...

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...ay for years, believing it was a play about love, but the way Shakespeare wrote the play it is far from a love story. As Romeo moved from Rosaline to Juliet, for the simple fact that he believed Juliet is more beautiful than Rosaline, gives the perfect example that the play is based on desperation. Juliet says to Romeo, showing her desperation, “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow / that I shall say good night till it be morrow” (II ii 188-189). When Romeo and Juliet say they cannot spend another night away from each other, it sets a perfect example of obsession in the play. Even Romeo knows he is anxious to force love when he says, “Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine” (II ii 127).

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Language of Literature. Ed. Arthur N. Applebee. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2002. Print.
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