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The Depth of Love and Hatred in Romeo and Juliet

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“What defines true love? How long should it take to realize if you’re truly in love? Our views of love differ from person to person, but many of us have loved or will find love in our lifetime if we are fortunate. Whenever love stories are brought up Romeo and Juliet never seems to be passed up. “To understand what Shakespeare thought of passionate love one must look through, but also beyond, the lens of the romantic era that gave birth to love’s modern glorification” (7).

“In classical times love was often seen as a lasting madness, as opposed to anger, which was seen as a brief madness. Obviously Shakespeare considered these two familiar definitions from antiquity, so central to the play’s mad rush into sex and violence. He also treats passionate love and creative force. It generates remarkable poetry in Romeo’s and Juliet’s words, much of it witty and comic and even self ironic, no mater how seriously the words are sometimes spoken in productions” (7). This shows us Shakespeare had much deeper thoughts on the concept of love. In the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, The Chorus refers to the young lovers as “star-crossed lovers.” This phrase is an extension of the belief that other stars and planets have the ability to control the world under if perfect aligned. This line convinces readers that Romeo and Juliet are destined to fall in love and perhaps equally destined for their love to fail. Most of the celestial imagery in this play is from Romeo’s compliments to Juliet. Romeo compares Juliet to the Sun. Then later, Juliet own wish to “cut[Romeo] out into little stars” when he dies. Throughout the play these images are brought about through the two lovers than through divine fate. So we cannot conclude that any external celestial object determined their fate.

“All cultures have developed concepts of love between and among the sexes. Hindus in India developed both the reincarnated love of Rama and Sita and the notion of Tantrism…Partly through painted erotic art, the far eastern Japanese developed an aristocratic concept of sexual variety, while in the huge Moslem world Sufism developed a notion of the pure spiritualism” (148). This is important because everyone’s view of love can be perceived differently based off of their culture and experiences. “Shakespeare’s concept of love derives from two major sources: Plato, Plotonius, and Platonism; and Provençal poetry (love lyric from the south of France) and the courtly love tradition that spread its gospel of love through Europe”(148). These cultural approaches to love suggest a spark of “divinity in love.”

According to Understanding Romeo and Juliet “The four central themes of a Shakespeare’s play also appear in undeveloped form in Romeus and Juliet. First, there is Romeus’ unnamed first love, her sudden replacement by Juliet, and the shared desperation of the young lovers. Shakespeare reduced Juliets age from fifteen to thirteen leaving Romeus(now Romeo) at about eighteen to twenty years of age. But the playwright removed the sense of grief from the shared love of his principals, relegating all painful or bitter love in Brooke to Romeo’s love for Rosaline not Juliet.” Romeo is often viewed as a person who was a player. If one was to think in the mind of a child though, you could really see where he is coming from. He may have saw more potential in Juliet or he may have eventually done Juliet the exact same way for another women. Keep in mind that they planned to get married merely a few days after they had met.

“It has been said that love and hate, like and joy and sorrow, are two sides of the same emotional coin. Others would say there is no hate without love.” Romeo and Juliet no doubt had love for each other. Many critics believe this was lust, but either way they were both infatuated with each other to the point that they took their lives. They showed their love but a strong hate was also portrayed. The Montagues and the Capulets are the two wealthy families Romeo and Juliet belongs to. Although they love each other their families have hatred for each other. The play never goes into detail as to what the reason could be. No one ever bothers to explain it to neither Romeo or Juliet but its just known that both families participate in on scrutinizing the other. Therefore, anytime they met it would be very similar to a street gang rival arguing and disturbing the piece over very minute problems. It got so bad the Prince makes a promise that the next person who makes a street disruption will suffer the death penalty.

Shakespeare never tells us why the families hate each other. It could be that the feud is so longstanding that the families themselves don’t know why it started. They have disliked each other for decades, maybe centuries. If one was to consider the placement of where the play was set, we could possibly draw conclusions and make an educated decision on why or under what circumstances made them rivals. The play is set in Verona, Italy. This city was known and is still known for their artist and their building engineers. Perhaps someone in the Montague family were rival builders or painters. The story of Romeo and Juliet is often compared to other pieces that Shakespeare wrote suchas Pyramus and Thisbe. In this piece their families are feuding similar to Romeo and Juliet’s.

“Shakespeare does not allow us to forget this infidelity, even though its not the whole story of Romeo. First the chorus reminds us in a breath-taking deadpan understatement of Romeo’s changeablility: That fair for which love groaned for and would die, With tender Juliet is matched, is now not fair. (2.Cho.3)

Juliet is tender perhaps because she is younger than Rosaline” (8). This is another important factor that contribute to the possibility of Romeo actually having real love for Juliet. The mind of most teenagers and young adults are to date those who are more financially secure and those who has or gives more sexually. More than likely, older women (Rosaline) would equal the more financially stable and also more experienced sexually. Despite the perks, he still chooses a “tender” Juliet. This truly showed his love he has for her. It could have also been “her (Juliets) lack of possession” because she is so young that enticed him to pursue her because of his natural dominance he could have.

Romeo has transcended transfiguration in desire into what he may have most desired from Rosaline (what “conjures,” or raises up, his phallus) her sexuality. He has done more than change loves from an uncooperative Rosaline to a highly cooperative Juliet. He has found a soul mate. “Even though there is tremendous contrast between the Nurse and her charge, Juliet, they have in common a relative rush to sexual experience”(9). “Indeed, he has exchanged Rosaline for Juliet. Shakespeare does not allow us Romeo to go along to go along with this exchange painlessly” (10). Romeo clearly didn’t love Rosaline in fact he wanted nothing to do with her. When he was being questioned, He denied knowing her multiple times.

A clock-like machine, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliethas four separate movements. First there is the famous love story of two strong willed and willful not simply “star-crossed” lovers that ends in two separate suicides in an urban cemetery. Second, there is the continuing vendetta, or violent rivalry, between two families in the relatively unpoliced streets of that same urban center. This civil disturbance in Verona concludes there is a continual emphasis on paradox, contrariety, or yoked opposites. Fourth, there is terrible and tragic rush in action speech and spectacle in the drama; “a continual gallop to satisfy sexual desire, bloodlust, and, oddly, delivery of notion of man existence as paradoxical.”(12)

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The Depth of Love and Hatred in Romeo and Juliet. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
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