Was Romeo and Juliet’s love based on looks, rebellion, external forces, or was it in actuality true love? There is no denying the fact Romeo and Juliet is a great play and an exceptional Shakespearean work, but upon closer inspection, is it a story of true love? Many hints and clues may lead one to the belief that the love exhibited in this play is truly due to no more than lust or some other reason.
The first and most obvious reason for why Romeo and Juliet fall in love is due to their infatuation with each other s beauty. Throughout the entire play they were both entirely fixated on each other s physical appearance. Both Romeo and Juliet aspire to find no other quality in their lover other then that of good looks. Towards the beginning of this drama, Romeo had already received a reputation for enjoying only beautiful women. Romeo expresses that to him beauty is a greater quality than knowledge or personality. Paralleling Romeo, Juliet appears to find other qualities attractive in her men. When she considers the marriage of Paris in the beginning of the play his apparent beauty does not sway her decision to hold off marriage. But as soon as she meets Romeo, of all the good qualities he possesses she speaks only of his splendour and attractiveness. Which would definitely lead one to believe that they find nothing more than appearance desirable when it comes to falling in love .
I believe this is most recognisable in the very beginning of the play. As he gazes at her he is completely astonished by her beauty. Not even knowing her name or anything about her personality, Romeo’s superficial nature overpowers his common sense and he apparently falls in love . As he describes her he articulates how he sees her in saying “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows. The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand And touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? For swear it sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” In this Romeo is comparing Juliet to a beautiful jewel which is too rich to be used, and is almost supernatural. He questions whether he has truly loved before, and comes to believe that his previous loves have never been genuine, and he had never seen true beauty until he encountered Juliet. These quotes confirm the idea that Romeo loves only through his eyes. He has not talked to Juliet or attempted to find out even the simplest of facts about her. At this point in the story he does not even know the name of this exquisite beauty in which he speaks. All of which may lead one to believe that he is in love with nothing more than her physical features and anything else about her is not important to him, as of yet.
The silent and apparently gorgeous Juliet has never really been romantically involved. Being born into a protective family she has never had a real relationship and as of yet Juliet has never been allowed to experience anything on her own. So when Juliet comes to meet Romeo she becomes enthralled with his handsome appearance and romantic nature. When Romeo says, “If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle sin in this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” She feels flattered and takes his kind words to heart. Romeo is extremely forward in his actions; he speaks to her in a very sweet and romantic manner, and kisses her upon their first encounter. She is definitely taken by his words and actions. Juliet, having deep feelings for this stranger, calls her nurse and anxiously asks her to find out more about this mysterious man. When her nurse tells her that he is “Romeo…the son of [Juliet s] great enemy” she does not prevent herself from having these feelings, she simply says, “My love, sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy.” She claims that it is too late for her to change her feelings she has fallen in love with his appearance. After falling in love with Romeo she overlooks the fact that they are mortal enemies, captivated by his beauty she pursues him to the full extent.
The idea of Romeo being attracted to nothing but Juliet’s beauty is obvious throughout the entire story. Even at the grief-stricken end, when Romeo is mourning Juliet’s “death”, he states, “For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes this vault a feasting presence full of light.” Romeo thinks that Juliet is dead, yet he still speaks of her beauty. Her physical appearance is the first thing that Romeo fell in love with, and it is that beauty that he will miss the most. To me both Romeo and Juliet s love for each other does not extend much farther beyond the beauty they see in each other.
It is not only infatuation that brings these two together it is also their quest for what they think will make their lives worth living, love. Their lives are filled with troubles and questions of many kinds, and confused and misguided they come to believe that love is the answer. Throughout the story it is obvious that these two misbegotten teenagers are engrossed in the idea of being in love. In the beginning Romeo is in love with a woman named Rosaline, but as soon as that fails he falls in love with Juliet. When Romeo first meets Juliet he is not only struck by her beauty but the possibility of love, which is really all he is looking for. For one reason or another Romeo simply wants to fall in love, he wants to be loved. Proof of Romeo s dire need for love is when he says Tut, I have lost my love; I am not here. This is not Romeo; he s some other where. which means that without love Romeo believes he is nothing and that he has left his heart with his love. In the same way Juliet just wants to fall in love, which would explain why she would not marry Paris, this being on account she was not in love. The way these two speak of love throughout the story proves that love is everything to them. It is plain to see that truly they are not in love with each other they only believe they are, or want to believe they are. These teens don t love each other; they love the thought of being in love. The secrecy, the romanticism, and the mystery of it all, that is what they fall in love with, not each other.
As teens, it is obvious that Romeo and Juliet use their love and each other to rebel against their overbearing or neglecting parents. In the case of Juliet, she uses this to escape her domineering parents, as she knows that they have other plans for her. As they force her to marry a man she doesn t love, she subconsciously searches for a way to get out of this unfavourable predicament. In doing so she finds Romeo and convinces herself that she is in love with him. Her dislike for Paris and her apparent need to escape marriage to him is obvious in the lines I will look to like, if looking liking move, and It is an honour that I dream not of. Which means that Juliet will try to like this man which her mother speaks of, and that she does not wish to marry him. Although the thoughts and views of Romeo s parents are not depicted in the play, the same ideal can also be extended to Romeo. He may be falling in love as either a way to rebel against them or escape them all together. From Romeo s parent s lack of appearance one can assume that they may not spend a great deal of attention to their only son and this may be a way for Romeo to gain attention.
Another reason these two fall into their delusional love is due to the fact that either subconsciously or consciously they want to escape from their prior engagements or dilemmas. In the play, Romeo and Juliet both have a romantic agenda that for one reason or another they want to escape. In the beginning of the play Romeo is plagued by his failing relationships of the past, especially that of his beloved Rosaline. His love for this woman is proven in the way Romeo is uncertain about going to the party he just wants to mourn the woman who does not like him in return. Which is shown in the line in which Romeo says Out of [Rosaline s] favour but, where I am in love with which means that although Romeo still loves her, she does not love him in return. Heartbroken and wanting to escape his feelings for her and trying to forget about her altogether he finds Juliet and forgets about this once lovely beauty Rosaline. In the same way Juliet wants to escape her engagements with the County Paris, a man her parents want her to marry. Knowing that her parents would not allow her to talk her way out of it Juliet searches for another way, and she discovers Romeo. If she were to wed Romeo she could not marry Paris, making it an exceptional escape from her marriage to him.
From the beginning of time, people have fallen in love for the same reasons Romeo and Juliet did. They both may have had ulterior motives for falling in love, whether it be to escape other problems or believing that love would solve their problems. They were just to na ve teens that were confused and saw love and their pure physical attraction as a way out. As they became infatuated with each other they wanted to love and to be loved. But in reality one can plainly see that their love was no more than lust.