William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, tells the story of two teenagers from distinct families who experience love at first sight and end up committing suicide over the inability to be together. Romeo is a Montague, known to be a person who falls in love often, and Juliet is a Capulet arising her 14 years who’s being prepared by her parents to marry Paris; but uninterested in marrying anyone yet. Within seconds of Romeo and Juliet seeing each other for the first time, they claim to fall in love. In reality, they fell in love with each other’s physical looks, and the idea of escaping their present troubles by being together, but they did not really fall in love as they had thought. Because of their young age, instead of being in love, they are both actually chasing escapism; Romeo is trying to get over a girl who doesn’t love him back, and Juliet is trying to avoid getting married to a man she doesn’t like by being with Romeo, their young age also leads them to becoming sexually attracted to each other. Romeo and Juliet are actually not in love.
One reason Romeo and Juliet aren’t in love, is because they’re both searching escapism. Romeo isn’t in love with Juliet, because he is still in love with Rosaline, and trying to get over her. Minutes before meeting Juliet, Romeo was stressing over Rosaline’s unrequited love. The only reason Romeo attended the Capulets’ party was to see Rosaline. Before the party, when the Capulets’ servant approached Romeo to read the list of the invited guests, Romeo saw Rosaline’s name, which motivated him to sneak into the party. In Act 1 scene 3, Romeo states “I’ll go along…to rejoice in splendor of mine own” (33). This line proves how Romeo is attending the ball in order to see Rosaline, although Benvolio was trying to convince him to go so that he can look at other girls to really get over Rosaline. What caused Romeo to end up heartbroken in the first place was Rosaline not returning his love, “…well in that hit you miss. she’ll not be hit with cupid’s arrow…from love’s weak childish bow she lives uncharmed” (25). This line reveals the cause of Romeo’s depression, which causes him to attend the ball after seeing Rosaline’s name under the invites’ list. Minutes after sneaking into the party, Romeo lays his eyes on Juliet and states, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night (53).” Romeo is claiming to have never seen a girl as beautiful as Juliet in his life, but days before this encounter, he was claiming Rosaline was the most beautiful girl in his eyes “O, she is rich in beauty, only poor that, when she dies, with beauty dies her store” (25). Beauty will die when Rosaline does, according to Romeo. With this, it is unclear to readers which of the two females is most beautiful and which of the two females Romeo truly loves. Romeo is obviously confused, and trying to forget Rosaline with Juliet whom alike Rosaline is a Capulet, and is beautiful. With a line said by Romeo later in the story, it becomes clear that the only reason Romeo is with Juliet is because she would return his love unlike Rosaline, “Her I love now Doth grace for grace and love for love allow. The other did not so (89)”. Here, Romeo expresses to Friar Lawrence, that unlike Rosaline, Juliet returns his love, that being one of the reasons he loves her. When combined together, the fact that Juliet loves Romeo back unlike Rosaline, and he’s so rapidly forgetting Rosaline with Juliet’s beauty, is enough evidence to prove Romeo is not truly in love with Juliet, instead he is using Juliet to replace Rosaline.
Juliet on the other hand, is not in love with Romeo either. She is actually just trying to avoid marrying Paris. Juliet’s unwillingness to marry Paris also influenced her feelings towards Romeo, her not wanting to marry him became a reason to gift Romeo with her love. In earlier scenes, as her mother talks her into becoming interested in Paris, Juliet repeatedly declined it.
“Lady Capulet: How stands your disposition to be married?
Juliet: It is an honor that i dream not of.” (Act 1, Scene 3 pg. 39)
Although Lady Capulet’s desire is for Juliet to marry Paris, Juliet clearly does not want to get married and is opposed to doing so. This plays a part in Juliet choosing to become interested in Romeo rather than Paris. Eventually, marrying Romeo would detain her from getting married to Paris and being miserable from marrying a man she was not interested in. This is also the reason Juliet drank the potion later in the story. Romeo was exiled from Verona and the Capulets were arranging a wedding between Juliet and Paris, but Juliet did not want to marry Paris since she was already married to Romeo, causing her to drink a potion and die. “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here’s drink. I drink to thee.”(Act 4 Scene 3 pg 193). Juliet drinks the potion in the name of Romeo because she does not want to marry Paris and is scared that she might never hear from Romeo again. They are both using each other to escape relationships with other people.
Romeo and Juliet aren’t in love, they are in lust. Just seconds before meeting Juliet, Romeo is still in love with an old lover [Rosaline], which means that while Romeo found himself in love with Juliet, he was still in love with someone else, concluding that he was in love with two girls at the same time. Also, Romeo’s love toward Juliet doesn’t seem to come from his heart, instead it comes from his eyes. When Romeo confesses to Friar Lawrence that he’s in love with Juliet, Lawrence responds with, “Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes (89). Lawrence’s quote proves that Romeo doesn’t truly love Juliet with his heart, but with his eyes. Love as many may know it is supposed to come from the heart, instead of the eyes, but Romeo doesn’t seem to fit into that category.
Romeo and Juliet’s relationship consists of infatuation. Their short lived passion consisted of temporary feelings that are difficult to identify due to how young they are. On one end, Romeo is a young guy who is known to fall in love often. In a conversation between Romeo and Mercutio, Mercutio states “You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings and soar with them above a common bound” (Act 1 scene 4 pg. 43). Mercutio is saying that Romeo loves often, and that he can give his love to a new girl as he has done in the past. Therefore, since Romeo falls in love so many times, this new act of love is different from his previous ones. Juliet was only 13 years old, and has never been in a relationship before. In Act 1 scene 2, Capulet informs Paris of his information, “My child is yet a stranger in the world. She hath not seen the change of fourteen years” (27). Capulet is saying to Paris that Juliet has had no experience with the real world, in other world she has never been in a relationship or left her parents’ house. This quote can be addressed when discussing that Juliet really felt no love for Rome, because she is claiming to be in love with Romeo although she had never been in love with anyone before. How could someone know what love is if they have yet to be in a relationship with someone? Neither Romeo nor Juliet know what love is.
In the essay, “What A Wife Was Juliet,” the author discusses Romeo’s act of suicide. This topic is another example of why Romeo and Juliet didn’t love each other, because according to the author, Romeo’s suicide act instead of showing that he killed himself over the inability to be with Juliet, shows that he did it in order to escape from the world.
It certainly is not an instance of emotional instability in
which one kills himself on the spur of the moment due to
the inescapable and overwhelming force of some grief or
emergency involving one’s honor or his affections.
Romeo’s suicide was premeditated and reasoned out with
an elaborate detail over a long period of time. (89)…
Certainly the apothecary scenes would
be much better theatre if Romeo would discuss, even if he
later rejected, some plan by which he could also live not
for purposes of revenge, but to labor in honor of Juliet’s
memory and to realize in part the accomplishments which
her untimely death had prevented(88).
Romeo’s death had been planned way before, and it’s obvious that the only reason Romeo turned to suicide was because he would not be able to live without the love of two women whom he had fallen in love with. Romeo could have stayed alive and honored Juliet as stated in the quote, but instead, he committed suicide as a way to escape from Juliet’s death and Rosaline’s unrequited love. Another part of this essay which critiques Romeo’s false love is when the author points out how Romeo’s love is artificial, since he only compliments Juliet on her looks. “Why should I growl about Romeo’s artificial lovemaking…I can even forgive Romeo for his everlasting talk about Juliet’s physical beauty or her other elements of attractiveness” (89). As this quote mentions, Romeo is constantly only talking about Juliet’s beauty. That is not love! This essay backs up that Romeo and Juliet weren’t really in love, because it points out that Romeo’s words didn’t reflect true love, instead they reflected attraction by Juliet’s looks and that he committed suicide to escape Rosaline’s heartbreak and Juliet’s death.
In conclusion, based on all the evidence stated, the reader can fill in the blanks and realize that Romeo and Juliet’s love was entirely fantasized. They didn’t love each other, they mistook attraction for love, were using this love to escape realities by getting over a person who did not return the love and avoiding marriage with an unwanted person. Romeo and Juliet was not a love story at all, although it truly was a tragedy because two young kids took their lives over something they convinced themselves to believe in.