Romeo And Juliet Obsession Analysis

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William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is perhaps one of the most well-recognized love stories of all time. However, it is more than just a classic love story, it is a tale of desperation and obsession. While developing these themes, Shakespeare contrasts Romeo and Juliet’s obsession with the concept of real love; he also demonstrates the danger of obsession-Romeo and Juliet do not heed Friar Laurence’s ominously omniscient warning “[t]hese violent delights have violent ends/ and in their triumph die, like fire and powder,/ which, as they kiss, consume”(II vi 9-11), and obsession with honor is likewise dangerous. He probes the theme of despair; the suicidal impulses that become reality for Romeo and Juliet are grounded in the dynamic and…show more content…
Friar Laurence astutely states, “Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell./ But come, young waverer”(II iii 88-89), and he perhaps comes closest to the reality of the lovebirds’ affinity for each other: Romeo is a flighty young man falling in love with whoever pays him attention, and Juliet is an isolated, sheltered girl desperate for a change. Shakespeare uses the chorus to reinforce that Romeo and Juliet lust for one-another, rather than truly love their fiancee. The chorus states, “Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie,/And young affection gapes to be his heir…/ Now Romeo is beloved and loves again,/Alike bewitchèd by the charm of looks”(II prologue 1-6). This is vividly contrasted by the actual love that is apparent between Lord and Lady Montague, and even more acutely towards their son, as evidenced by their worry for him following the brawl in Act I, scene i, and their grief following his banishment, culminating in Lady Montague grieving herself to death. Romeo and Juliet’s passionate lust, rather than love, and obsession are more than simply strong emotions-they lead to dangerous…show more content…
Like Friar Laurence’s hypothetical kiss between fire and powder, Romeo and Juliet have one night together, then the situation implodes, with Romeo banished for slaying Tybalt and Juliet betrothed to Paris. The obsession that the ill-fated lovers have for one-another is, in the very extremity that pulls them together, deadly. Romeo’s obsession with Juliet and his honor, and, as a result, mortality, leads to the death of numerous characters, both innocent men and pugnacious brawler. Romeo’s obsession with seeing Juliet and dying next to her leads to Paris’s death outside Juliet’s tomb. Likewise, the obsession with honor leads Romeo to slay Tybalt, his cousin of one hour following Romeo and Juliet’s marriage. At the crossroads of his joint obsessions with Juliet and honor, Romeo poignantly states, “My reputation stained/With Tybalt’s slander.—Tybalt, that an hour/Hath been my kinsman!” (III i 73-75). The theme of obsession is a powerful undercurrent in Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare does not waste a chance to accentuate its importance. When Romeo goes to Friar Laurence to requisition a marriage with Juliet, the friar chidingly says, “For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.”(II iii 82). Here, Shakespeare hints that the attraction that the lovers feel for one-another is obsessive, and reinforces the difference between obsession and true love. Also, he uses frequent, deadly duels to underline
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