The Importance Of Different Types Of Love In Romeo And Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare during the 16th century that mainly follows the themes of love and tragedy. The intense passion the two lovers from both households have for one another causes the deaths of their friends, family and themselves. It shows that love has the power to control someone’s actions and feelings like how Romeo and Juliet dies for the sake of love. In this essay I will be exploring the importance of love in the story of Romeo and Juliet.

Firstly, the reason why love is so important in the story of Romeo and Juliet is because it is what leads them to their death, as can be seen in the Prologue where Shakespeare purposely creates a foreshadowing, “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life”. This is at the very beginning of the play to show its importance in the story line. At that time, it was prevalent that love would be predetermined by parents, for wealth and status reasons. The parents are metaphorically described as ‘stars’, thus creating an image of stars shaking their heads at Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. However, the young lovers went against the ‘stars’ in order to be together; this shows their determination and passion for one another that leads them to death.

Secondly, love is important as it isn’t only shown as happiness but also as a misery. We can see this in Act 1 Scene 1 as a sudden change of tone occurs as Benvolio asks about Romeo’s first love, Roseline. “In sadness, Cousin, I do love a woman”, this confuses the audience and makes them question why he is unhappy if he is in love. It could be because his love is one-sided and he cannot help but love someone who won’t love him back, which makes him experience a period of depression with love. This makes love important as the main character experiences the consequences of falling in love.

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Relating to love being both a happy and sad feeling, Romeo describes it as “heavy and light, bright and dark”. Here Shakespeare uses an oxymoron to describe the indescribable impact that love can make. Love cannot be explained in one single word nor it can be explained with multiple words either. Instead, love is expressed as “everything except what it is”, as if love is something that brings light to Romeo’s dark world or love being something bringing darkness to Romeo’s bright world that was full of light. This is what makes love so powerful; it can be one thing but can also be the opposite of it thus making love important as it plays multiple concepts in the play.

From being terribly heartbroken from his first love, to admiring Juliet’s beauty. Romeo falls in love with Juliet after seeing her for the first time, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight! I never saw true beauty til this night”; the use of rhetorical question here shows that Romeo is truly in love with Juliet. Romeo sweet talks his way to Juliet’s heart by complimenting her beauty as something unbelievably ‘true’. This describes the social context used in Romeo and Juliet, as Romeo follows the rules of courtly love, that are etiquettes used in the medieval times to impress women. He doesn’t believe what he felt before was love and believes that Juliet is his actual true love. This proves the importance of love as it can quickly change someone’s emotions in an instant.

Love made Romeo change his perspective on both the women that was so very involved in his love life. The two women are described as a moon and a sun, Roseline being an “envious moon” who is “sick and pale with grief” and Juliet being a “fair sun”. This scene in Act 2 uses personification, as the moon and sun is described as ‘envious’ and ‘fair’. This scene also introduces the feeling of jealousy when loving someone. The person jealous is Roseline as she probably realised that Romeo has moved on from her and now she is regretting not loving him back which creates ’grief’ within her. Romeo’s dark world that was caused by his past love, Roseline, has been lit up by the ’sun’ that is Juliet, whom he falls in love with at first sight.

At this point we have reached the climax of Shakespeare’s storyline, on how he orders his scene chronologically to build up tension and end up with a downfall. Although there are many oppositions to this young love, Friar Laurence is a supporter of the relationship as he strongly believes it can unite the two households of Montague and Capulet. This is shown in Act 2 Scene 3, “For this alliance may so happy prove. To turn your households rancour to pure love” as he describes the feud as ‘rancour’, bitterness or resentfulness; this proves how he truly feels about the conflict and he believes that it can be stopped by love. This indicates the historical and religious context as Romeo and Juliet goes to the priest for assistance and it makes Laurence appear as a hero towards the audience. This suggests how important love is, as even the priest believes love can mend back the houses Montague and Capulet together.

The priest also wedded the two ‘star-crossed’ lovers together, this demonstrates the determination the priest has for the two to be together in order to unite the households. In Act 2 Scene 6, Friar Laurence states “These violent delights have violent ends, therefore love moderately: long love doth so”, before marrying Romeo off to Juliet. The fact that they married in secrecy and at a young age could show why Shakespeare would use an oxymoron to describe marriage as ‘violent’, as it is supposed to be considered as a ‘delightful’ matter. He also foreshadows the ‘violent ends”, that is the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. It could be that the priest knew all along that something would go wrong in this young marriage as he also mentions to ‘love moderately’, to a certain extent. He also mentions ‘long love doth so” but we later find out the two died for one another not long after getting married. This proves how remarkable love is, as it is what unites Romeo and Juliet together at a very young age and they loved to an extent of dying for each other.

In conclusion, love plays a significant role in Romeo and Juliet as the two young lovers went against fate and died together, as well as the hatred between the Montague and Capulet. Although this isn’t a ‘happily ever after’ the story itself shows the many types of love and its consequences; from Romeo being heartbroken from his first love, to being completely in love to Juliet at first sight. This shows the power of love and its importance in the play, as it is able to control ones actions and emotions.

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