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Misunderstanding Love in The Play Romeo And Juliet

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Love is often confused with lust or infatuation. In the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare we come across “[a] pair of star cross’d lovers” who both are from two different feuding families (Shakespeare 1.P.6). Due to the feud with their parents, they were unable to be with each other. Because of that, a plan was formed that ended in complete tragedy for both households. They are Romeo Montegue ,who was trying to find love after being rejected by Rosaline Capulet, and Juliet Capulet, who was being prepared to be in an arranged marriage with Paris. When Romeo and Juliet first saw each other at the capulet’s party, they instantly fell in love with each other. However, in reality they were just sexually attracted to each other meaning they were actually in lust and not in love for their own intentions.

In psychiatrist Judith Orloff’s article, “Lust vs Love: Do You Know The Differences”, published on August 15, 2011 by Psychology Today, addressed the differences between love and lust. She had seen how intense lust can get in people. She said that lust was a very strong sexual desire and love was an intense feeling of deep affection. Orloff also stated that teenagers experienced lust because of sex hormones. Moreover, she mentioned that on an MRI scan when an addict got a little bit of cocaine, the same area of the brain lit up as well as when someone was in lust making lust intense. Romeo’s and Juliet’s relationship was not love but lust. Minutes before meeting Juliet, Romeo was still in love with Rosaline, who would rather become a nun than to be with him. The only reason he even went to the capulet’s ball was to see Rosaline since she was attending the party:|Benvolio| “At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so lovest, with all the admired beauties of Verona” (Shakespeare 1.2.85). Romeo could not be in love with Juliet because he was still in love with Rosaline, therefore making Romeo and Juliet’s encounter lust since the only thing they noticed about each other was their appearance. When Romeo was confessing his love for Juliet to Friar Lawrence, Friar Lawrence stated, “Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes (Shakespeare 2.3.67). This showed Friar Lawrence even knew Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was lust. Romeo could not resist Juliet showing that he had a strong sexual desire for her going as far as to break several laws in Verona for her, proving that they were in lust.

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Furthermore, Romeo used Juliet as a way to forget about Rosaline. When Romeo sneaked into the Capulet’s party and layed eyes on Juliet for the first time, he stated, “Forswear it, sight, For I ne,er saw true beauty till this night” (Shakespeare 1.5.51). Romeo was expressing that he had never seen a girl as beautiful as Juliet in his life. However, days before he was claiming that Rosaline was the most beautiful girl in his eyes. He even said beauty will die when Rosaline dies: “O she is rich in beauty, only poor that when she dies, with beauty dies her store” (Shakespeare 1.2.210). Romeo was clearly trying to forget Rosaline with Juliet, who both were alike. Both were capulets and were beautiful to Romeo’s eyes.The only difference was that Juliet returned the love back to Romeo and Rosaline did not: |Romeo| “Doth grace for grace, and love for love, allow; The other did not so” (Shakespeare 2.3.86). Rosaline had rejected Romeo affecting him and; therefore, making him want to forget about her with Juliet. In LCSW Katie Hurley’s article, “How to help teens cope with rejection”, published on April 18, 2018 by Psycom, addressed the topic of teenage rejection and how parents could help their teens cope with rejection. She asserted the claim by stating ways parents can help teens accept and cope any form of rejection. Examples are, by acknowledging the rejection, accepting why you are feeling like this, by remaining objective, by connecting with your teen, and by examining the thought process. Are you depressed, sad, or angry. She also stated that rejection can be life altering in teens. Since rejection can be life altering, Romeo entered depression, which altered his life and; therefore, tried to find a way to get out of, which was by replacing/forgetting Rosaline with Juliet, who he had an intense sexual attraction too.

On the other hand Juliet saw Romeo as way to get out of the marriage her parents had arranged with Paris by marrying Romeo, who she found more attractive. Since the beginning, Juliet did not want to get married to paris because she did not love him. When juliet was talking to her mother, Lady Capulet, about getting married to paris, Juliet stated, “It is an honor that i dream not of” (Shakespeare 1.1.69). This proved that Juliet did not want to get married to paris and instead chose a much handsome guy, Romeo, as an escape from the marriage. However, If Juliet would of married Paris instead of Romeo she could have actually developed real feelings for Paris over time as stated in Ji Hyun lee’s article, “Modern Lessons from Arranged Marriages”, published on January 18, 2013 by The New York Times. Lee addressed the topic on modern arranged marriages and how they can start out as being unsatisfying and awkward but over time end up working out because the couples get to know each other causing them to fall in love. She asserted these claims by telling the story of Mr. Khubani who had an arranged marriage and at first was not impressed with his partner but over time fell in love with her. But Juliet obviously did not marry Paris ,which would have ended in a better ending, and instead preferred to kill herself. When Romeo did not receive the letter from Friar Lawrence that Juliet was not dead but asleep, Romeo went to her tomb and killed himself by taking poison he had gotten from the apothecary. Once Juliet awoke to see Romeo’s dead body, she proceeded to commit suicide so she would not have to marry Paris: :“ yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief o happy dagger [picking up romeo’s dagger] this is thy sheath: there rust, and let me die” (Shakespeare 5.3.169. Therefore, showing that Juliet used Romeo as a way to avoid the marriage with paris and since Romeo died her only way out of it was to commit suicide.

When one considers romeo’s intention with Juliet, who he saw as a more attractive girl than Rosaline, and Juliet’s intention with Romeo, who she found more attractive than Paris, it is clear that their relationship was formed out of lust and not love for their own purposes. Romeo’s purpose with Juliet was to forget/replace Rosaline. Juliet’s purpose was to marry Romeo so that the arranged marriage she had with Paris could not be legal. In the end, lust was utilized in an attempt to obtain their desired goal but instead ended in complete tragedy.

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Misunderstanding Love in The Play Romeo And Juliet. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/misunderstanding-love-in-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
“Misunderstanding Love in The Play Romeo And Juliet.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/misunderstanding-love-in-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
Misunderstanding Love in The Play Romeo And Juliet. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/misunderstanding-love-in-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2022].
Misunderstanding Love in The Play Romeo And Juliet [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Dec 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/misunderstanding-love-in-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
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