“Love” is a juxtaposed emotion that makes life uniquely human. Its ambivalence makes us ecstatic one minute and depressed the next. In Romeo and Juliet’s occurrence, it was both ecstatic and depressing. They had an amalgamation between them that would never be destroyed, even through death. Their determination to stay together through the arduous times was astonishing, even when they knew that their relationship would never be normal because of a family feud. They never gave up. It was a case of the proverbial love at first sight, and as a result the theme of “love” in Shakespeare’s most popular tragedy is far more prevalent than the premise of “hate.”
Relating to scenes in Romeo and Juliet is not difficult, as in most of them we as readers see ourselves in the similar situations in our own lives. From the pain Romeo suffered from Rosalyn’s rejection, to the enchantment of the first scene where the “star-crossed couple” meet. Each installment of the drama invokes a multiplicity of empathy through our own similar experiences. These are mostly considered episodes of love, but there are intermittent portrayals of the jealousy and feelings of malice to which a person subdues because of love. The most memorable of these portrayals is the first scene of Act Three. Love inspires rage in this fight scene in which Mercutio loses his life. Such a scene is an important rendering of how there is a thin line between love and hate; the men have a love for each other to inspire defense, and a hate fueled by the murder of their mate. This demonstrates how much of an impact love has in Shakespeare’s story, not only for the lovers, but also for a friend.
A friend who has been with a person through thick and thin is not a common commodity. However, when do such friends become obsolete? Maturing inspires a transition in each person’s life. Such a transition from a child’s young, same sex adoration to the infatuation of the opposite gender is a main observation in this play. The tragedy not only about love, but about growing up making the conscious choice between a best friend since kindergarten and a new girl who moved into the house across the street. Mercutio loved so much Romeo that he would lay down his life for Romeo. Consequently, Romeo would vow vengeance on Tybalt, who brought upon Mercutio’s death. Similarly, and ironically, he would damn himself with his self murder, as he believed the death of his belov d was no one’s fault but his own.
What would possess two individuals to be so madly enamored with the other that life alone seems unbearable? Romeo and Juliet had such strong chemistry they would die for each other. Ironically, it is chemistry, or potions, that would prove fatal for both. Shakespeare’s use of tragedy to destroy the innocent leaves the reader perplexed as to why this must happen to such young children, full of life and vigor. Do these mere teenagers understand what it truly means to unconditionally love? No, it is rather their sense of the eros, or desire to please one’s self, that drives them to such selfish demise. This would prove the immaturity of their love, as true agape, or unconditional, love would never lead to such a consequence.
Even though there is a thin line between love and hate, love always dominates as a force in our actions. Just as there truly is no dark, only absence of light, similarly there is no hate, but rather only absence of love. It is these “shades of gray” that make life interesting and full of spice. Without such confusion everyday, there would be neither Shakespearian Tragedy nor Comedy. We as readers are inspired to learn of new crisis and drama, yet we also know the template it ultimately must fit; as Tennyson so eloquently understood it, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”
Works Cited :
Leland, John. Class notes and discussion. Shakespearean Tragedies. Virginia Military Institute, 4 February 2000 through 17 February 2000.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. The Riverside Shakespeare. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.
Tennyson, Lord Alfred. In Memoriam.27. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.