Love is presented in many different ways in Romeo and Juliet. Love, in this play, is not actually true love; it is a mixture of feelings and ideas of infactuation, long lasting love, and marriage. This essay shall compare and contrast these aspects portrayed through the various characters in this play.
Marriage is the vehicle through which most characters in Romeo and Juliet express their views on love.
One of the ways Father Capulet conceives marriage is that it is like a deal. In the days that this play was written, a father would own his daughter and could do what he wanted with her.
‘And you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend’
The noun friend shows how Father Capulet values Paris’ Family. At this time, Father Capulet is struggling to persuade Juliet to marry Paris as he thinks this will end Juliet’s sorrow. This is an example of dramatic irony as the audience know that Juliet’s distress is a result of Romeo murdering her cousin Tybalt, and Father Capulet believes it is due to only Tybalt’s death. This scene would raise audience tensions as there is a large amount of violence and anger portrayed.
As he is trying to end Juliet’s intense sadness, it is known that Father Capulet also has her interests at heart.
Furthermore, Father Capulet considers marriage to be related with connections.
‘A gentleman of noble parentage,’
The adjective noble again shows how he values Paris’ family and how aware he is of their connection to other families. This shows that he is being partly selfish as he just wants the chance to be connected to other, more important people.
Lady Capulet also contributes her thoughts on marriage and love. She believes that marriage is all related with physical attraction which is a view of love which is widely spread today.
‘Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face.
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen.’
The noun beauty’s suggests that she finds Paris attractive and that she also has Juliet’s interests at heart as she wants her daughter to be happy.
The Capulet’s Nurse, who is a comic character, thinks of love and marriage to be correlated with sex and pregnancy.
‘Women grow by men.’
The verb grow shows how a person in Shakespearian times would have described pregnancy and this interests the audience. This shows that she is not interested in Juliet’s true feelings as marrying her Paris is more convenient at the time because Romeo has been banished. On the other hand, it may also show that the Nurse also has Juliet’s interests at heart as she wants her to be happy with her choice of person.
Another form of love which is presented in Romeo and Juliet is infactuation. We are first introduced to Romeo by his father, who is troubled by Romeo’s recent behaviour.
‘Tears augmenting the fresh morning dew,
Private in his chamber pens himself.’
The verb pens shows how isolated that Romeo is and want to be. The audience initially sees Romeo in his emotionally unstable state. He appears to be a character that is not in charge of his feelings. This shows the audience that he is somewhat immature and lacking self-control. Romeo exercises this aspect throughout the play as when Mercutio is killed, he loses control and murders Tybalt.
When Romeo first speaks, he does so in oxymoron’s.
‘Heavy lightness, serious vanity.’
These contrasts show the extremes in Romeo’s language, which further develops the idea of love being a mixture of confusion. Also, he speaks in poetic type language which are hyperbolies, which prove his loss of control and vast extent of the infactuation he endures.
Benvolio advises Romeo on what to do about his depressed state.
‘Take thou some new infection to thy eye
And the rank poison of the old will die.’
The noun infection exaggerates how Benvolio does not like to infactuate. This means that Benvolio thinks Romeo is over reacting and that he should just move on with his life. It suggests that Benvolio knows what true love is like and knows Romeo is infactuating.
Friar Lawrence is first met when he is analysing his plants. His thoughts on love are the most realistic as he thinks love should not be rushed and that it should last for a long time.
This means that he thinks that Romeo should not be so dramatic and take life slowly so that the felling lasts longer. His views are the most rational and later in the play, we see that he is very considerate as he wants the best or the two families. This is evident as he marries Romeo and Juliet so that the two families come together.
This essay has explained the different ways that Romeo and Juliet presents the idea of love. These are a mixture of thoughts and feelings which are not related with true love but are conceived by many people. It includes connection to other people, ownership, sex pregnancy, physical attraction, and interests in the best for other people.