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Questioning the Validity of Young Love: Were Romeo and Juliet really in love?

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Were Romeo and Juliet really in love?

“Romeo and Juliet” is a tale of misunderstood youths who fall in ‘love.’ Romeo and Juliet undoubtedly believed they were in love. Circumstances surrounding their unprecedented meeting, individual lives, call into question the validity of their love. To the rest of their world Romeo and Juliet’s connection seems superficial. Their age and immaturity leads the protagonists to the misconception that their love is monumental and unique. A complex combination of circumstances, fate and the protagonists themselves, ultimately contribute to the most controversial question ever asked in one of Shakespeare’s most famous works.

Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another is proclaimed throughout the play. Their love is contrasted against the rest of their community which is plagued by conflict between their parents. Shakespeare notes that the youth’s judgement is clouded by their immaturity. Romeo is hopelessly devoted to Rosaline, and then conversely shifts his adoration to Juliet. “That beauty for which love groaned and would die, with now tender Juliet matched is now not beautiful. Now Romeo is beloved and loves again.” The alluding significance is that Romeo is in love with the idea of love. “Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it sight, for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. This queries the authenticity of his love for Juliet, his ability to love is almost diminished because Romeo’s judgement is clouded by his immaturity and passion.

Significantly both protagonists make sacrifices for each other in order to pursue their passion. However sacrifices made by the youths in turn benefit themselves, conflicting the value of the sacrifice. Juliet is willing to live in Mantua with her beloved...

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... the protagonists believed their love was real, however their judgement of what is love, is diminished by the fact they do not consider the consequences of choice. Immaturity and passion is all that can be exacted.

Finally it must be acknowledged that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is trapped within the constraints of Shakespeare’s own writing. Shakespeare intended to question the validity of love. He intended to question just how young love and circumstances surrounding the conception of love may be. Immaturity and passion is raised as the essence of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. To those in Romeo and Juliet’s world their connection is irrational and incoherent. However it is evident Romeo and Juliet truly believed that what they had was love, regardless of their age and circumstances. That is the only certainty, and perhaps the only factor that matters.
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