The Personalities of Romeo and Juliet as Explained in The Taxonomy of Love

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The two lovers in Shakespeare’s arguably most popular work, Romeo and Juliet, express two different types of love, and their personality is shown in the way that they love. The play, written by William Shakespeare in the 1590’s, is a tragedy born out of an ancient comedy of youth. However, Shakespeare’s diction impacts the mood of the piece, and empathy is evoked from the reader. As stated in the prologue, Romeo and Juliet is a tale of two star-crossed lovers who toss aside the bad blood between their families, fall in love, and marry. After a twist of fate, Romeo is banished and Juliet is engaged to another man by her father. Juliet decides to fake her death in order to stay true to her love, Romeo, but he does not receive the message of her plan. He learns of her death, journeys to her grave, and poisons himself. Juliet, seeing him dead, kills herself. The tragedy of the lovers heals the brood between the two families. Though they both meet the same fate, suicide in the name of love, they personify two different styles of love that lead them to the iconic double-suicide. Romeo Montague exemplifies the traits of a “mania lover”, while Juliet Capulet is a “ludus lover.”

Romeo exhibits the qualities of a mania lover in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. In the first four scenes of act I, Romeo, the male protagonist, is depressed and heart broken over the cousin of Juliet Capulet, Rosaline. He says to his cousin Benvolio, “She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair, / To merit bliss by making me despair. / She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow / Do I live dead that live to tell it now (Act I, Scene I, Lines 223-226).” Here, it is explained that Rosaline has wit, and has promised her love to God instead of Romeo. In other words,...

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... when Romeo is banished for the murder of Tybalt, the antagonist, and Capulet plans to marry Juliet to the County Paris in two days time, bringing the story to its climax. The news brings Juliet to the brink of, ironically, suicide. In order to avoid this, Friar Laurence devises an ingenious plan, however, bit by bit it unravels. Romeo never receives the letter, and this leads to a spiral of poor luck. Paris is killed by Romeo, and after Romeo kills himself, Juliet sees him there and kills herself. The dramatic irony of the entire plot is that Friar Laurence was aiming to join the two families in love with the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, which he did, but only through their death. The two lovers, Romeo being a mania lover and Juliet being a ludus lover, also shared a tragic flaw; they believed in love more than they did in taking responsibility for their actions.

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