Essay on 'Romeo and Juliet' Courtly Love

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On the one hand, taking Romeo Montague, it should not be possible to establish the archetype character without Juliet. This happens basically because as seen before, he is a Petrarchan lover and Juliet is the “religion” in his eyes. So one character complements the other one.

With both, it can be seen as courtly love, honest, elegant, and courtship love. Decorated in an idyllic setting full of elements such as fountains, orchards, or gardens. It takes to show us a detailed description of a lady’s beauty, which presents the woman on a higher, distant, and unattainable plane and the man, noble, in love, in a lower level of lover-vassal-friend of the beloved whom he courts. In the same line, there is a set of behaviors developed between them throughout the play and go from one extreme to the other: from exaltation to depression, from sadness to happiness, from anger to tenderness, and from desperation to sensuality.

As previously mentioned, Romeo is presented as impulsive and, therefore, immature and, as opposed, Juliet is presented as more introspective, maybe more objective and, definitely, more mature than Romeo. They’re opposite (Romeo as a vassal for Juliet) but as said, complementary because courtly love would not take place one without the other.

So, it is romantic love between two young people, who fight against adversity and whose destiny is irremediably tragic, since they move with a passion without limit.

In relation to this, as previously mentioned, Romeo and Juliet fell in love in a few hours at a banquet, they got married the next day or a few days, they had their wedding night, they separated, and then they met again to die together. There’s no doubt that Shakespeare had to kill them because if they had not died there would have been more chances that the marriage was a failure to continue being in love. So, it is a simple teen love based on physical and impulsivity.

On the other hand, taking Humbert Humbert, with which the comparison is clear, is not possible to establish the archetype without Lolita. Lolita is the main character, so the archetypal is developed around her and here it can also be seen that they complement each other.

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Humbert embodies the archetype of a European refined and cultivated man and also a seducer. In the same line, in comparison to Romeo, her passion for Lolita is the center of her existence. In this way, it can be seen as a character that is constantly away from reality. The shock of the death of his beloved in his childhood seems to have trapped him in that phase of life, and his obsession with teenagers is the research for this kind of love.

Humbert also takes this use of the detailed description of a lady’s beauty, a little similar to Romeo’s, but also with differences, such as the musicality in pronouncing the name of his beloved.

There is also a relationship of superiority that, unlike Romeo and Juliet, here is changed according to the interest of each of the characters.

It can be seen, as another similarity, that there are also a set of behaviors that take place between both and also go from one extreme to another. It can be obviated that Lolita maintains typical adolescent behaviors: sometimes sweet, sometimes manipulative, despite understanding the difficulties in her life at a young age. She acquires the romantic profile of a complacent girl-lover. However, with time, she changes the same time as growing up.

Nevertheless, it should not be analyzed Humbert's behavior, despite his low lucid moments and his jealousy.

Linked to this, it should be considered the passionate love between both, perhaps more like a game on Lolita's part; obsessive in Humbert and, even though it looks like unconditional love, it does not stop being from the irrationality, egocentrism, and disrespect. This disrespect should be seen in the fact that he takes advantage of shortcomings of Lolita. And what at first may seem as something normal, in the evolution of time and, by the circumstances, his obsession grows until it separates her from social life. And again, another similarity between Romeo and Juliet, a relationship sentenced to failure or, in this case, to death.

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Essay on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Courtly Love. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
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