Romeo and Juliet: Love, Marriage, and All That Good Stuff
Romeo and Juliet: Love, Marriage, and All That Good Stuff “One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love”. That quote is attributed to the Greek philosopher, Sophocles, and while it may be true in some cases, this is not true in Romeo and Juliet. As evidenced in Romeo and Juliet, by the Immortal Bard, William Shakespeare, Mercutio, Juliet, and Romeo all have different views on love, which influences their decisions.
Mercutio does not believe in love for himself, but he does believe in carnal desire; Juliet believes in love but not marriage until she meets Romeo; and Romeo believes love is a horse – the minute you fall off, you get right back on. Mercutio has a playful view of love. For example, before they go to the party, Romeo says, “I have a soul of lead,” (I. iv. 15) and Mercutio replies, “You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings/ And soar above them with a common bound” (I. iv. 17-18). Mercutio does not believe that love can hurt anyone. He wishes for Romeo to be in love but not pained by it.
Furthermore, Romeo still wishes to hold the candle at the party and Mercutio remarks, “If thou art dun, we’ll draw thee from the mire – /Or … love – wherein thou stickest” (I. iv. 41-42). Mercutio offers to help Romeo out of his current love by giving him a new love. Mercutio also refers to love as a dirty word, due to his saying of save your reverence. In conclusion, when Romeo says, “[I]t pricks like a thorn” (I. iv. 26), referring to love, before the party, Mercutio says, “Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down” (I. v. 28). He thinks that Romeo is in love, and will get no sexual relief from the love, so therefore Mercutio feels for Romeo’s sadness. Mercutio wants Romeo to be happy, so he wants Romeo to have a love he can get sex out of. Mercutio does not believe in serious love, but sexual desire. Juliet, as a noble girl, should believe in marrying the perfect prince, but she does not. Firstly, when Juliet’s mother, after Paris has expressed interest in Juliet, asks, “How stands your disposition to be married? ” (I. ii. 70), Juliet remarks, “It is an honor I dream not of” (I. iii. 71). Juliet does not dream of marrying, and this disappoints her mother. Juliet, as we soon discover, does believe in love, however. Secondly, after sending the Nurse to retrieve the name of the mysterious stranger, i. e. Romeo, Juliet says, “If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed” (I. v. 149). Juliet has fallen for Romeo and wishes to marry him. This foreshadows her demise because she dies very soon after meeting Romeo.
Lastly, after meeting Romeo at the party, the Nurse says, “He is Romeo and a Montague, / The only son of your enemy” (I. v. 150-151), Juliet replies, “My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! ” (I. v. 152-153). Juliet falls for Romeo but he is a Montague. Juliet also is open to the idea of her choice in marriage. Juliet does fall in love with Romeo at first sight, and later marries him. Romeo is a perpetrator of constant, overly dramatic love. For instance, Benvolio asks, “ It was.
What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours? ” (I. i. 168), Romeo answers, “Not having that which makes them short. ” (I. i. 169). Being one of Romeo’s first lines, this reveals a lot about his character. Romeo is constantly being overtly dramatic in terms of love. In addition, when referring to why he must carry the light, Romeo says, “I am too sore empierced with his shaft / to soar with his light feathers”(I. i. 19-20). Romeo refuses to dance due to his pain. The irony in that is that, at the party, he will find a new love and forget about Rosaline.
Finally, when first seeing Juliet at the party, Romeo says, “Did my heart love til now? Foreswear it sight, / For I ne’er saw true beauty til this night” (I. v. 59-60). Romeo, after only going to the party to see Rosaline, falls in love with Juliet, showing his character trait of being willy-nilly with his love. It is this sequence that starts the problems in this play because had Romeo never commented on Juliet, Tybalt would have no reason to kill Mercutio and get Romeo banished after Romeo’s revenge.
It is Romeo’s over-the-top love that causes a lot of the problems in the tragedy. The views of Mercutio, that love is all play, Juliet, that marriage is something to do with Romeo and no one else, and Romeo, that love makes the world go round, lead to the problems in this play. All the love, and decisions made using the ideas the characters have about love, influences the outcome of the play immensely. The pain and weight of love will cause the characters to lose their lives.