Throughout the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet various types of “love” aredisplayed .
Benvolio believes women are interchangeable, while, at thebeginning Romeo bel ieves love is pain. At the beginning Juliet does noteven have a definition of love. Paris’s and Lady Capulet’s definition oflove is in appearance. It is obvio us that Shakespeare wants the audienceto believe that the only “true” or “real” love is the love that existsbetween Romeo and Juliet.
The first type of love the audience is introducedto is the “interchangeable” lo ve of Benvolio. According to Benvolio, a manshould “love” a woman for only the duration of their relationship. If theirrelationship should end, the man should feel no grief. If the woman rejectsthe man initially, he should still feel no grief. In either situation, theman should simply start a relationship with anot her woman. Benvolio’sdefinition of love shows the audience two things about Ben volio: he is awomanizer and he has never before experienced “true love.
” The nextdefinition of love comes from Romeo, but before the time he met Juliet.According to his definition, love (or, rather, not returned love) is pain.He h ides from the sun due to the “love” he feels, and does not act like”himself.” I believe Romeo is both right and wrong: not returned love ispain, but Romeo doe s not truly love, as he is merely infatuated by awoman. The next definition of love comes from Juliet, who, before meetingRomeo, did no t even have a definition of love.
She appears not to knowwhat love is, and, for that matter, does not seem to care. She remainsignorant until she meets Romeo.Another type of “love” we are exposed to during the same scene is the love of LadyCapulet. Lady Capulet believes love comes from appearance, both physical andpolitical, and has nothing to do with emotion. She shows this when she speaksfavorably of Paris’s looks and his nobility.
She also shows that she does not loveCapulet when she publicly denounces him. The Nurse’s opinion of love coincideswith that of Lady Capulet.Paris has a similar view of love. His “love” for Juliet appears to be pure, buthis reason does not. He loves Juliet for her appearance and nothing else. Heregards her more as property than as an individual. He is also selfish in his “love.
“When he believes Juliet is dead (in Act IV) he seems sorrier for his own lossthan Juliet’s apparent loss. He “loves” Juliet as much as he can love anyone, buthis love cannot be considered “true love” because of his selfishness.Finally, in Act II, the audience sees what is defined as “true love” in our society.This “love” is the love that grows between Romeo and Juliet.
The definitionof “true love” Shakespeare provides the audience with states that all the othercharacters’ definitions of love are wrong. It also states that when two peopleare in true love, there is no pain unless they are permanently separated. Itshows that lovers are not interchangeable, and that love transcends appearance.
It proves all except one other “love” in the play wrong. It also shows that reallove is not affected by distance or convenience. When two people are in “true love”they are not selfish to one another, do not care about appearances, and cannotlive without one another. I agree with this definition of love (all except thatwithout one another the lovers cannot survive).Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another also goes beyond one other thing: names.It shows that names do not matter. In our society the difference in names wouldbe equal to two people of different races.
The people would come from racistfamilies in a modern day remake of the play.The last example of love in the play is parental love. This is shown in Act Vscene iii. Lady Montague dies due to separation from her son. Capulet, Montague,Lady Capulet, and even the Nurse shows that they love either Romeo or Juliet in this way.In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet many types of love are shown.
None of themare wrong, as the word “love” is subject to interpretation, but it is obvious thatShakespeare did not have this in mind when he wrote the play. Shakespeare showsus that the only type of love worth being in is “true love.” He also shows usthat, with all types of love, there is pain. If his goal was to influence theaudience to believe that the only real love is the type of love that existedbetween Romeo and Juliet, I believe he accomplished it.