Romeo’s love for Juliet is a significant turning point in the play Romeo and Juliet. The romantic tragedy was written by William Shakespeare, about two admirers who love each other undyingly but come from families who have been feuding for years. Both youngsters, Romeo and Juliet, long for a relationship that will fulfill their desires.

Unaware of his family’s feud with Juliet’s, Romeo still decides to marry her. However, on the other hand, Romeo’s passion for Juliet is untrue because he is an infatuated teenager, moreover, his attraction for Juliet was lustful, and he rushes their marriage after only knowing her for several days.

Rosaline’s beauty is a sight for sore eyes, as Romeo defines it: “The all-seeing sun / ne’er saw her match since first the world begun” (Shakespeare 33). Romeo’s first lines on the play are melancholic, describing his distress at Rosaline’s rejection.

This suggests that Romeo is disappointed that his soulmate does not reciprocate his feelings, and that his attraction to Rosaline was his first love, indicating to the audience that Romeo seems to have no experience with love.

Romeo still loves his old lover Rosaline minutes before the Capulet party, showing that when he finds himself attracted to Juliet, he still had feelings for someone else, resulting in him being in love with two girls at the very same time. There’s a point in the play, before Romeo knew about Juliet, were he states that he will never find someone more beautiful than the one he loves, which in this case was Rosaline. Seemingly, Romeo is not genuinely in love with Juliet, but rather is using her as a stand-in for Rosaline.

There are those who believe Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was based on lust. Due to their youth, their short-lived passion consisted of fleeting emotions that were difficult to detect. Romeo loves frequently, according to Mercutio (Romeo’s close friend), and he will, as he has in the past, offer his love to a new girl. From Romeo’s lines in the play, it can be deduced that he only speaks about beauty and all the satisfaction derived from it. As Friar Lawrence expresses “Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes” (Shakespeare 89), Romeo is loving by what he sees (with his eyes) rather than with his heart.

When Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet for the first time, he instantly forgets that his feelings for Rosaline ever happened, implying that Romeo is more attracted by physical appearance. Nichole Urena argues in her work about Romeo and Juliet’s Fake Love, that Romeo’s suicide act was prompted by his intentions of escaping the world, Rosaline’s heartbreak, and Juliet’s death, not by his inability to be with Juliet. It’s understandable that Romeo mistook attraction for love and that he used this relationship as an escape from his reality by getting over someone who did not love him back. Nowadays love is interpreted as a selfless act performed from the heart, but this is not the case for Romeo.

Romeo’s haste to inform Friar Lawrence that he would marry a girl he had only met the night before demonstrates his urge to have things done his way without considering the consequences. The play’s marriage reveals Romeo’s fascination with being in love, and because his first admirer did not return his feelings, he does not want to waste a single moment with his new partner. When Romeo learns of Juliet’s family’s rivalry with his, he realizes that if their families find out about their secret relationship, they will never be able to be together.

Besides that, for a couple of adolescents who have no understanding of what love actually is, the chances of Romeo making foolish and unreasonable decisions are higher. Furthermore, it is well known that Romeo has difficulty managing his feelings for others. Viewing it from a modern point of view, the choice of getting married after only knowing each other for one day seems particularly rushed.

Nonetheless, some characters in the play did express their displeasure with Romeo and Juliet’s hasty marriage, meaning that some of the characters shared a modern perspective. For instance, Friar Lawrence reveals that Romeo’s enthusiasm for something constantly changes, as he was dying for Rosaline’s love one day and now is swooning over Juliet the next.

Romeo’s love for Juliet shows that he doesn’t clearly understand the situation he has put himself in and wants to rush the idea of love. As a smitten teenager who loves with his eyes rather than his heart, Romeo’s actions are guided purely by desire, leading to negative consequences. His way of being displays a boy who is driven by a delusion that eventually takes him to his tragic destiny.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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