Superficial Love Essay, Research Paper
In William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, the two main characters are madly infatuated with each other, but they are not truly in love. There are several differences between true love and infatuation. First, true love takes time to develop and cannot happen at “first-sight.” People who are truly in love with each other have had time to learn everything about the other person and accept everything about him or her, including all of the negative qualities. When two people meet and instantly recognize that they are right for each other, they only know the superficial qualities of the other. Their behavior is directed at satisfying their raging hormones. Romeo claims to be in love with Juliet from the moment he first sees her, but his only focus is on her beauty, a superficial quality. He says, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight!/ For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (I. v. 51-52). When Romeo gets close to Juliet, he immediately tries to convince her to kiss him, even though he does not even know her name. Who else but an infatuated boy with raging hormones could come up with a pick-up line such as: “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do./ They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair./ Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take./ Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged.” (I. v. 102-106). Later, when Juliet learns that Romeo has killed Tybalt, she admits that her first impressions of Romeo might be wrong but she continues refer to his good looks as proof of his positive qualities. She says, “O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!/ Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?/ Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical!/ Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st/ A damned saint, an honorable villain!/ Was ever book containing such vile matter/ So fairly bound? O, that deceit should dwell/ In such a gorgeous palace!” (III. ii. 73-84). Since Romeo and Juliet experienced love at first sight, they could only see each other’s positive and superficial qualities, such as beauty. They didn’t have time to assess whether they were compatible and shared values and expectations, as couples who are truly in love would do. The second difference between infatuation and love is that infatuation requires no more than secret rendezvous with the other person. It can be hidden from family and friends. True love, however, is open and shared with all. The people are not afraid to display to the world their love for the other. Romeo and Juliet keep their love a secret. They lie to their families in order to get married. Romeo tells the nurse to tell Juliet to “Bid her devise/ Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,/ And there she shall at Friar Laurence’ cell/ Be shrived and married…” (II. iv. 148-151). Rather than tell her family that she is already married, Juliet fakes her own death so she can run away with Romeo without her family’s knowledge. She agrees when the Friar says, “Now, when the bridegroom in the morning comes/ To rouse thee from thy bed, there art thou dead./ and that very night/ Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua./ And this shall free thee from this present shame ” (IV. i. 105-117). Romeo does not tell Tybalt that he has married Juliet. Instead, he says, “I do protest I never injured thee,/ But love thee better than thou canst devise/ Till thou shalt know the reason of my love./ And so good Capulet – which name I tender/ As dearly as mine own – be satisfied.” (III. i. 60-64). If Romeo and Juliet were truly in love, they would not need to sneak around their families to get married. Juliet would tell her father that she loves Romeo and that she is already married to him. Romeo would tell Tybalt that he is married to Juliet. They would display their love to the world, despite any consequences. But, Romeo’s and Juliet’s love is not true, but rather is only an infatuation that remains hidden. Finally, the third difference between infatuation and true love is the neediness of the people. An infatuated person needs the other person’s love to feel complete and is lost without the other person. This makes the infatuated person unreasonably jealous of anyone or anything that might share the love of their beloved. An infatuated person would become extremely despondent or even suicidal if his or her beloved died. True love is unconditional and good. Each person loves the other without needing to be loved in return. He or she would never allow harm to come to the other person. Because of this, there would be neither jealously nor suicidal feelings if the love is not or can not be returned, since that would cause harm to other person. Romeo is unreasonably jealous of anything or anyone who can be near Juliet. He is even jealous of “Death” when he says, “Shall I believe/ That unsubstantial Death is amorous,/ And that the lean abhorred monster keeps/ Thee here in dark to be his paramour?/ For fear of that I still will stay with thee/ And never from this palace of dim night/ Depart again.” (V. iii. 102-108). Romeo would rather die than be without Juliet’s love, stating “And but thou love me, let them find me here./ My life were better ended by their hate/ Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.” (II. ii. 77-78). When Juliet thinks that Romeo is dead the first time, she tells her nurse that she no longer exists herself. She says, “Hath Romeo slain himself? Say thou but ‘Ay,’/ And that bare vowel ‘I’ shall poison more/ Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice./ I am not I, if there be such an ‘Ay.’” (III. ii. 45-48). Both Romeo and Juliet kill themselves when they believe that the other is dead. Romeo says, “Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight” (V. i. 34) as soon as he learns that Juliet is dead. Juliet, upon seeing a dead Romeo, say, “I will kiss thy lips;/ Haply some poison yet doth hand on them,/ To make me die with a restorative.” (V. iii. 164-166). When this does not work, she kills herself with his dagger. If Romeo were truly in love with Juliet, he would not have taken his own life, for he would know that Juliet would want no harm to ever come to him, even after her own death. He would not be so needy of her love for his own survival. The same is true for Juliet. If they had been truly in love with each other, their love would have focussed on giving love rather than receiving it from the other person. They would not have felt that their life was not worth living without the other. In conclusion, Romeo and Juliet were not truly in love with each other, for true love requires more than mere infatuation, which was all Romeo and Juliet had for each other.