Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,/Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty (V, iii, 92-93). These are the words of Romeo as he stands beside of his beloved Juliet’s tomb. Having fallen in love at first sight, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet set the stage for the greatest love story in history. In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, these two main characters become the victims of Cupid’s arrows, when they meet by chance at a feast in the Capulet household. Instantly, Romeo and Juliet are attracted to each other; she by Romeo’s words, and he by Juliet’s beauty. As Friar Lawrence said to Romeo, Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes (II, iii, 67-68). This romantic, but tragic story points out in many ways that this idea is realistic.
Handsome, gallant, flirtatious Romeo has been a ladies’-man. His closest friends, Mercutio and Benvolio, teased him, calling him “Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover!”(II, i, 9) when in the beginning he fell in love with Rosaline. Towards the beginning, Romeo received a reputation for enjoying beautiful women. When Romeo speaks of another woman, he says, For beauty, starved with her severity/ cuts beauty off from all posterity (I, i, 227-228). This means that by denying herself love and marriage she is wasting her beauty.
When Romeo first sees Juliet, he is completely astounded by her beauty. Without even knowing the name of this lovely stranger, Romeo’s eyes take complete control of his heart and mind and set him in a helpless state of love. He speaks of Juliet as though she is an angel, O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!/ It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night (I, v, 51-52).
In this speech, Romeo is saying that Juliet is like a jewel whose beauty is too rich to be used, and is almost unearthly. He questions whether he has loved before, and realizes that his previous loves have never been genuine, and he had never seen true beauty until he encountered Juliet. When he says, “I’ll watch her place of stand,” it means that he will not take his eyes off of her precious face all night. All of these statements prove that he loves only through his eyes. He has not even spoken to Juliet, nor does he know her name. He is in love with her physical features and nothing else is important to him at that moment. However, Juliet feels the opposite by falling in love with his words.
Juliet Capulet is a quiet and beautiful young lady who has never been romantically involved. Being the daughter of very protective parents, Juliet’s life has essentially been planned out for her. Always with a chaperone, Juliet has never been allowed to experience anything on her own. She is told what she can do, and whom she must marry; regardless of her feelings. Before she met Romeo, she had never met any other gentleman and has therefore never carried out any conversations with young man. When Romeo and Juliet first meet, Romeo says,
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. (I, v, 104-107)
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
And palm to palm is palmers kiss. (I, v, 108-111)
She picks up his words, changes them around and throws at back at him in the same style as he talked to her. She uses his imagery repeatedly upon their encounters. 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. Juliet, having deep feelings for this stranger, calls her nurse and anxiously says, “Go ask his name: if he is married my grave is like to be my wedding bed” (I, v, 137-138).
After the Capulet feast, at the balcony scene Juliet hears someone s voice which sounds very familiar to her. My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words/ Of thy tongue s uttering, yet I know the sound./ Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague? (II, ii, 63-65) When they first exchanged words at the ball, he was wearing a mask, therefore she could not have recognized his handsome face, but his beautiful voice and the words he said.
The theme of Romeo’s falling in love with Juliet’s beauty is carried throughout the entire story. Even at the sorrowful end, when Romeo is mourning Juliet’s “death”, as she lies in the Capulet monument, he declares, “For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes/ this vault a feasting presence full of light” (V, iii, 86-88) 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. He was very passionate…she was very vulnerable; he was experienced…she was naive.