The Concept of Love in the “Romeo and Juliet”
Romeo and Juliet is a play that was written several decades ago, but it has remained relevant across many generations. Shakespeare used the play to talk about various issues of love, and how they affected our life today. 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 supports this idea. Friar 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 the tragic ones such as Juliet’s death, his love and soul mate.
Love has always been considered as a strong emotional attachment to someone. In this case, love will be manifested in the manner in which the particular person behaves and acts to the special person or groups of people. Literature has often been used in different incidents to express love between different people; this language of love has often been used across many decades.
All across the play, Shakespeare describes three main types of love, as revealed in different episodes in 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. Shakespeare states, “Shut up his windows, lock fair daylight out and makes himself an artificial night” (135-139). In this case, the created imagery shows depressed atmosphere. By use of this imagery, Shakespeare manages to demonstrate the difference between light and dark depicting the miserable state of Romeo due to being really in love with Juliet.
Dutiful love refers to the kind of love that one portrays as 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 the younger members of the society. Dutiful love, is a most important kind of love presented in this play, especially with 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” (Shakespeare 99-101), here it is very clear that Juliet has been and very dutiful to her own parents. Soon after meeting Romeo, Juliet became independent, detaching herself from her parents. Shakespeare has shown a lot of dutiful love from the words and sayings of Juliet, at the same time, he has also contrasted the change of Juliet’s love to her parents, this is happening before and after she meets her love, Romeo (Bonnard).
Parental love is usually 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 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 ” 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 with Romeo as they consider this marriage to be unhappy. Parental love is very often too obtrusive and sometimes it is caused by parents’ egoism as they simply want to be calm and not to worry about their children. Very often parents consider their children to be their property. In the love of Paris towards Juliet we also can see something like parental love. The love of Romeo is passionate and the love of Paris is more like parental (Orgel).
All three kinds of love demonstrated by Shakespeare are present in the life of all the people. And we usually feel unhappy if any kind of love is missing. Love causes suffering, but at the same time it is the only thing that can bring real happiness. We can feel happy only if we feel all three kinds of love: courtly, dutiful and parental.
Shakespeare William. Romeo and Juliet (Discover Shakespeare Primary & Early Years). London: Oberon Books. 2009. Print.
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
Orgel, Stephen. “Shakespeare Illustrated”. In Shaughnessy, Robert (Ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007