The Concept of Ideal Love in "Romeo and Juliet"

Essay by musicfreak120High School, 10th gradeA-, July 2004

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In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, mutual love and loyalty are the main characteristics of Shakespeare's ideal love. He also portrays the thought of making sacrifices in order for the couple to be together, even if it means forsaking things that are valuable to their existence, including their lives.

Romeo's desire for ideal love is the primary driving force behind most of his actions. Since his love with Rosaline was not reciprocated, it affected the way he treated Juliet because they shared mutual feelings for each other. When he was banished from Verona, he does not dwell on the fact that he has murdered somebody, but his only concern was being apart from Juliet, which demonstrates that love was his first priority. In addition, the impact of ideal love has matured Romeo as well as Juliet throughout the play. Although the text does not suggest that Paris is younger than Romeo, prior to killing Paris, Romeo refers to him as "youth": "Good gentle youth, tempt not a desp'rate man."(5.3.59).

Conversely, he calls himself a "man" as if the days with Juliet have put him through the emotions one would experience in an entire lifetime.

The individuals possessed by 'ideal' love are not the only ones who are affected by it. In Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence's first reaction to Romeo's drastic change was shock: "Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!/.../Young men's love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes."(2.3.69, 71-72). The Friar accuses Romeo of infatuation and is stunned to hear this sudden shift from Rosaline to Juliet. The Friar hesitates to help Romeo marry her. Ultimately, he still makes the attempt to seal their love despite the turmoil between the families. However, the Friar warns Romeo that "These violent delights have...