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Definition Essay on Love for Romeo and Juliet

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        Fairytales and wars have both stemmed from love.  Nelson Rockefeller said, “Never forget that the most powerful force on earth is love.”  This quote, not only true in life, proves true in the play, Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare portrays love as being one of the most powerful emotions which can lead to as much happiness as destruction. Through Romeo and Juliet, we are shown that the power of love can be a contradiction, beautiful but tragic at the same time. We witness Romeo and Juliet’s transition from powerful individuals to a couple powerless over love, and that to love, you must make sacrifices.  

        One of the most influential aspects of love, the drawing out of the positives and negatives of life through the same powerful emotion. The love between Romeo and Juliet, romantic but heartbreaking. They found a love that could last forever, but this love caused their downfall and ultimately their death.  In Act II, Scene two Juliet describes the depth of her love as:

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep.

The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” (II ii 140)

The power of this love causes them to becomes instantly dependent on each other. In Act V, when Romeo sees Juliet ‘dead’ he decides that he cannot live without her and ends his life. When Juliet awakens from the potion and finds Romeo dead, she realizes that she cannot live without the love of Romeo and kills herself.  Shakespeare ends one of the greatest stories of love with the truthful contradiction of that same love, “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (V iii 320) A brutal and heartbreaking ending to a beautiful love story.

Shakespeare offers us another example of loves overwhelming power when Romeo and Juliet first meet. They are powerful as individuals in the sense that they believe they have everything figured out in life.  Romeo “loves” Rosaline and Juliet has accepted the plan to marry Paris per her parent’s request. Upon seeing each other, everything they “thought” they knew, and were in control of crumbles away, and Romeo and Juliet are left powerless over where their love will take them. The Capulets and the Montagues, have feuded for years. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, should hate each other, but instead, they fall in love. Destiny brought the two together and love cripples them, causing them to abandon everything they know to love each other. In Act II we see Juliet conflicted between reality and her feelings, and ultimately surrendering to her feelings. “Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” (II ii 36) In the same scene, we also see Romeo willing to surrender over not only himself but also his name if it means being loved by Juliet.

“ROMEO: By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am.

My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself

Because it is an enemy to thee.

Had I written I would tear the word.

JULIET: My ears have yet not Drunk a hundred words

Of thy tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound.

Art though not Romeo, and a Montague?

ROMEO: Neither, fair maiden, if either thee dislike” (II ii 59-66)

Shakespeare shows us Romeo and Juliet’s transition from two individuals that knowingly shouldn’t be together, but who are brought together and becomes powerless over love.

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