Is Romeo And Juliet’s love real? – Romeo

Sam

Yes! I think Romeo & Juliet’s love is absolutely real!

I know what you’re thinking: “Hang on. Romeo and Juliet meet, fall in love, get married, and die within four days. How can you fall in love in such a short time?”

I think in order to answer this question, we need to have a look at how we define love. This is not an easy assignment. Even when looking at dictionary definitions, love is a hard concept to define succinctly. One definition is “a strong feeling of affection”, another one is “a feeling of warm personal attachment, as for a parent child or friend”. The problem is that there are many different forms of love, and that we all experience these emotions in different ways and with varying intensity.

At the end of the day, it comes back to personal opinion. Shakespeare isn’t here to ask, and even if he were, I’m not sure that he would have the answer. This is the beauty of art. It is about interpretation.

However, when making up your mind, there is really only one place to look for evidence, and that is within the text.

Here are some clues:

Romeo and Juliet confess their love to each other in the famous balcony scene.
When Juliet asks Romeo what satisfaction he can have tonight, he replies:

Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.

To which Juliet replies:

I gave thee mine before thou didst request it.

So it’s clear that the pair believe that they are in love. And who are we to argue?

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t Romeo in love with another chick at the beginning of the play?” Fair point. However, since taking on the role of Romeo, I have looked into this, and formed my own theory. I think Romeo’s feelings towards Rosaline, when we first meet him, are ones of lust, not love. I think he is looking for love. He is a passionate teenager who desperately wants to fall in love so that he can escape the violence that plagues Verona. The way that Romeo talks about Rosaline; however, indicates that he is more interested in being physical with her, than he is in love.

When discussing Rosaline with his cousin Benvolio, Benvolio asks:

And she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?

Romeo replies:

She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste.

Romeo and Benvolio are discussing Rosaline’s sexual experience, while she doesn’t want anything to do with Romeo. The boys are objectifying Rosaline. I don’t think Romeo would speak about Juliet in this way. When talking about Juliet, Romeo uses more respectful and loving phrases, such as:

What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That though her maid art fair more fair than she.

He is likening Juliet to the sun and saying that the moon is jealous of her brightness and beauty. What amazing language! This indicates to me that Romeo is experiencing a strong love that he has never felt before, and has to find new ways of articulating his feelings.

So, after looking at the text, you will be able to make up your own mind as to whether or not Romeo & Juliet’s love is real. I’ve found some examples for my theory. Do some detective work yourselves and see if you can find some more evidence! Post it on our Facebook page. I’d love to hear your thoughts! #behindthebalcony

Sam.

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