Romeo and Juliet is a play that was written several decades ago, but has remained relevant across many generations. Shakespeare uses the play to discuss various issues associated with love and how these issues affect people’s lives. Romeo is in love with the concept of love more that he is in love with any particular woman; in this case, his fast shift from Rosaline to Juliet. Friar Laurence says, “These violent delights have violent ends.” (2. 6 524-525). This intimates that Laurence also believes that Romeo has fallen in love hastily; in fact, Romeo’s perception of true love is also outstanding and he manages to be poetic in certain situations including tragic ones such as Juliet, his love and soul mate’s, death. Throughout the play, Shakespeare describes three main types of love, as revealed in different episodes of the play. The concept of love starts right from the beginning of the play and is a dominant subject across the episodes. For this reason, it is an obvious subject. In this play, love is categorized into three main forms: courtly love, dutiful love and parental love. Different characters as well as the use of imagery have presented all these three types of love.
Courtly love usually appears when the two people are getting acquainted to each other. This concept of love is usually the beginning of romance, which later developed into true love. Romeo and Rosaline as well as Paris and Juliet express courtly love in this play. It is evident that Romeo happens to be terribly in love with Rosaline; however, his love is not appreciated. Romeo states, “She hath forsworn to love, and that in vow do I lived dead, that live to tell it now.” (1.1 489-490). Benvolio replies, “Be ruled by me, forget to think of her.” (1.1 489-490). İt is evident that family members are not being supportive about Romeo’s love for Rosaline. In this case, the imagery highlights an atmosphere of depression. Through this imagery, Shakespeare manages to demonstrate the difference between light and dark, depicting the miserable state of Romeo attributed to his love for Juliet.
Dutiful love refers to the kind of love that one portrays in terms of his /her duty to the people in the immediate environment; they could be parents or the older people who deserve certain levels of respect from younger members of the society. Dutiful love is the most important kind of love presented in this play. This is especially manifested within the Capulet family; consider the following act; “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move, but no more deep will I end art mine eye than you consent gives strength to make it fly” (1.2 490-491). Here, it is very clear that Juliet has been and is very dutiful to her own parents. Soon after meeting Romeo, Juliet became independent, detaching herself from her parents. Shakespeare has exhibited dutiful love in the play through the words and sayings of Juliet. At the same time, he has contrasted the change of Juliet’s love to her parents, this is happening before and after she meets her love, Romeo (Bonnard).
Parental love connotes the love that exists between parents and their children; it usually demands that parents show closeness and concern for the welfare of their children. It is important to understand that parental love can at times be categorized as dutiful love. This kind of love is clearly portrayed in the Capulet family; by showing concern about their daughter, they encourage her to marry Paris. They tell her, “Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn the gallant, a young and noble gentleman ” (3.2 455-456). This is exactly how a caring parent would advise her daughter in the right way (Holland). They want Juliet to be happy and would never accept her marriage to Romeo. This is because; they consider the marriage unhappy. Parental love is often too obtrusive and is at times caused by parents’ egoism as they simply want to be calm and not worry about their children. Very often, parents consider their children to be their property. In light of Paris’s love towards Juliet, it is emergent that both sides are not affectionate. The love that Romeo wields is passionate and Paris’s love is more like parental love.
Summative, love has always been considered as a strong emotional attachment to someone. In Romeo and Juliet, love is presented in a manner in which different persona behave and acts towards the people they consider special or other groups of people. Throughout the book, readers come across dominant subjects such as courtly love, dutiful love and parental love. If the populace takes these factors into consideration, it can deduce that Shakespeare was successful in conveying that love is perceived in three forms.
Shakespeare William. “The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet ( 1957 ). George Mason University.Web. 7 May 2014. http:
Bonnard, Georges A. “Romeo and Juliet: A Possible Significance?”. Review of English Studies, 1951, II (5): 319–327.
Holland, Peter. “Touring Shakespeare”. In Wells, Stanley; Stanton, Sarah. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 194–211, 2002