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Shakespeare's Views on Love in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare's Views on Love in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's sixteenth century tragedy, remains one of the most famous, timeless pieces of literature yet created. This bittersweet tale documents the forbidden attraction between two impulsive children, and their tragic suicides. The story's incidents, saturated with Shakespeare's views and opinions, reveal the playwright's philosophies on love. Many consider Romeo and Juliet the greatest love story of all time, yet when the "love" between the two main characters is analyzed, it cannot truly be considered love. Instead Shakespeare wrote this play as a testament of the harsh consequences of reckless lust and attraction, and endeavored to send an admonition. Shakespeare meant not for Romeo and Juliet to define true love, rather, to define what true love is not.

The balcony scene of Act II, pulsating with the passionate current existing between the Romeo and Juliet, contains some of the richest, most beautiful poetry ever written. However, from a more critical aspect, this scene also contains some of the most impetuous, melodramatic reactions of two attracted individuals ever chronicled. Though they have only known each other for a few hours, and have not yet shared " a hundred words of [each other's] utterance (II. ii. 64-65), they immediately devote themselves to each other. Both Romeo and Juliet display a dangerously impulsive nature, as well as an inability to control their emotions, characteristic of their age.

The reckless actions of Romeo seem especially thoughtless, considering the danger he faces on the territory of his mortal enemies, the Capulets. Yet he insists in stealing alone in the dark night to see his "love" Juliet. Romeo's...

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... this play ended happily, it easily could easily be considered a comical masterpiece. However, the tragic end causes viewers to think about the cause of the play's disastrous events: the deaths of Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, and Tybalt. The deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt were undoubtedly caused by the powerful impulses of hate, much like the impulses of attraction between Romeo and Juliet, which, in the end, killed them also. Had they not felt those impulses so passionately, neither would have felt the compulsion to commit suicide because of the impossibility of living without the other, and probably would have escaped happily to Mantua. Shakespeare draws parallels between lust and hate, two of mankind's most powerful impulses, to oppose them, and support instead true love, a gradual respect and understanding of an individual, based on more than physical attraction.
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