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Theme of love in "Romeo and Juliet" William Shakespeare



Introduction 3

Chapter 1. William Shakespeare 4

    1. Life 4

    2. Career 4

    3. Success and prosperity 4

    4. Retirement and death 4

    5. Shakespeare’s theatrical genius 5

Chapter 2. Love 6

Chapter 3. Romeo and Juliet 7

3.1 The story 7

3.2 Types of love 7

Conclusion 10

Bibliography 11

Supplement 12


Nowadays people seem to read newspapers mostly. Many people are fond of reading detective stories or spy thrillers. I prefer books about love, adventures, history, travel-books and biographies. It is my dream to become a student of the department of foreign languages and to be able to read the books of my favorite English and American writers in original.

I think that love is friendship that has caught fire. It takes root and grows – one day at a time. Love is quiet understanding and the mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real. It gives you strength and grows beyond you – to bolster your beloved. You are warmed by his presence.

Love means trust. You are calm, secure and unthreatened. He feels that trust, and it makes him even more trustworthy.

Love is an upper. It makes you look up. It makes you think up. It makes you a better person than you were before.

This theme is very interesting not only for me, but for many people especially young people. We want to get to know about love through the works of writers and their heroes.

The purpose of my essay is to research of meaning of love in “Romeo and Juliet” of William Shakespeare.

The main tasks of the research work are:

to study the creative work of William Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet”;

to analyse the definitions of love;

to compare the different types of love and find differences;

to analyse types of love between Romeo and Juliet;

to proof that love between Romeo and Juliet was the true love.

The subject of this research is love.


My favourite English writer is William Shakespeare, one of the most outstanding personalities in the world literature.

1.1 Life

Little known about the events of William Shakespeare’s life. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon 1564, probably on April 23rd. His father, a glover by trade, was prominent local figure who held important positions in the government of the town. His mother came from a prosperous local family.

William Shakespeare probably attended Stratford grammar school, but he did not go on to study at university. When he was eighteen he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years senior, and six months later his first child Susanna was born followed three years later by twins Hamnet and Judith.

It is commonly believed that Shakespeare left Stratford to av being arrested for poaching.

1.2 Career

He went to London where he did a series of jobs, including holding theatre-goers’ home outside playhouses. He eventually became an actor, and by 1592 he was sufficiently well-known a dramatist to be the subject of an attack by the playwright Robert Greene (1558-1592). Greene wrote pamphlet in which he complained that uneducated dramatists were becoming more popular that university men like himself. In it he called Shakespeare an upstart Crow, beautified with our feather.

1.3 Success and prosperity

In 1595 Shakespeare joined an important company of actors called The Chamberlain’s Men (later changed to The King’s Men) and performed at court. His success as a dramatist grew. He mixed in high social circles and the Earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his sonnet became his patron and friend. His improved financial standing allowed him to invest in the build of the Globe theatre and in 1597 he bought New Place, the finest house in Stratford.

1.4 Retirement and death

He retired to his hometown in 1611, where he died on April 23rd 1616.

    1. Shakespeare’s theatrical genius

The relationship between audiences and performers was very intimate in Elizabethan theatres. Spectators sat on the stage or stood close to the performer and openly expressed their opinions about what was taking place on stage. Shakespeare had an unparalleled ability to entertain all sections of his audiences; the more intellectual elements enjoyed the poetic language and subtle characterization of his work while the less educated spectators delighted in the compelling storylines, gory battlescenes and humorous intrigues.


The main task of my research work is to analyse the definitions of love.

According to Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture

love is

strong feelings of fondness for another person, especially between members of a family or close friends;

warm interest and enjoyment and attraction1.

According to Macmillan Dictionary love is

very strongly attracted to someone in an emotional and sexual way;

to care very much about someone or something;

someone that you have a romantic relationship;

used for talking to someone that you love2.

According to Hollman Bible Dictionary love is



more excellent way;

high regard3.


Romeo and Juliet has always been one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. It is an impassioned cry in favour of love over hate, peace over war. It is simply one of the most gripping love stories ever told.

3.1. The story

The Montagues and the Capulets are the two chief families of Verona, and for years they have been enemies in a bitter feud. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, fall madly in love but they realize that their families will try to stand in their way.

Everything starts to go wrong for the two lovers. In a fight, Romeo kills Tybalt and as a punishment, he is banished from Verona to Mantua. Juliet finds out that Romeo has to leave Verona and so the two lovers decide to get married in secret. They are married by Friar Lawrence.

Juliet is very sad and depressed when Romeo goes away. Her father insists that the best way to cheer her up is to have her marry Paris, an old friend, but Juliet refuses. In desperation she asks Friar Lawrence to help her get out of the marriage with Paris and reunite her with Romeo.

Friar Lawrence devises an ingenious plan to help Juliet. He tells her to drink a magic potion which will make her lose consciousness and everyone will think she is dead. However, she will wake up after forty-two hours, and when she does, Romeo will be there to take her to Mantua.

Juliet does as Friar Lawrence has instructed and everybody thinks she is dead.

Friar Lawrence sends Romeo a letter telling him about the plan that Romeo does not receive it. He only hears that Juliet is dead. He rushes back to Verona and, when he gets to the graveyard, he finds her seemingly lifeless body. Overcome by grief, he kills himself. When the effect of the potion wears off, Juliet wakes up. She sees Romeo’s dead body and commits suicide.

The two families realize that their feud has led to the deaths of the two lovers and promise never to fight again.

3.2. Types of love

Next is presented what may be called ‘affected’ love – emotion which at the beginning of the action, the posturing, lovesick Romeo feels for the conventionally disdainful Rosaline. From Montague’s description in the first scene we know, even before we see that Romeo will behave like the typical lover of Petrarchan tradition – though ironically the father who has so accurately observed his son’s symptoms is unable to diagnose what is wrong with him. Mercutio, on the other hand, well understands Romeo’s emotion and satirizes it as the affectation which it is. And even the Friar seems to be aware of the shallowness of Romeo’s ‘love’ for Rosaline. This is not love but infatuation, and again Shakespeare, by calling it to our attention, is reminding us for the difference between this and the true love of Romeo and Juliet.

Lastly is presented what may be called ‘conventional’ love – the sort of dutiful affection required by the social institution of the arranged marriage. This is seen in the first dialogue between Paris and Capulet, in which the punctiliously correct suitor respectfully asks the father for the hand of his daughter in marriage. Capulet, ironically in view of his later actions, says he will give his consent only if Paris can first succeed in gaining Juliet’s. The theme is developed in the following scene, in which Capulets wife suggests that it is time for Juliet to think of marriage, specifically proposing Paris (a good catch if he can be landed) as her prospective husband. Juliet, apparently acquiescent, plays the part of the dutiful daughter who will accept whatever husband her parents choose for her. Again there is irony, in view of Juliet’s independent choice of Romeo that will soon to be made. Capulet’s insensitivity to the true values of marriage is well (and amusingly) shown in his hasty arrangements for the wedding. But the strongest statement of the theme of conventional love occurs in the ‘upbraiding’ and its aftermath. Here Capulet tyrannically exerts his parental prerogative to marry Juliet to whom he pleases; Lady Capulet sides with her husband against Juliet; and even the Nurse, hitherto Juliet’s confidante, shows both her imperceptivity and her amorality in suggesting that, after all, Paris is probably superior to Romeo and that Juliet might as well be married to the one as to the other. What they have in mind is not love but expediency; again Shakespeare is showing us the difference between a second-rate and a real love.

Thus the ‘true’ love of the Romeo and Juliet stands out sharply against a background of sensuality, Petrarchan affectation, and marriage-game conventionality. Romeo and Juliet are lovers in the tradition of romantic comedy, hence chaste. Romeo’s ‘bent of love’ is indeed honorable, and the Friar does not allow them to stay alone ‘till holy church incorporate two in one’. Nevertheless Shakespeare, without a trace of Mercutio’s bawdiness, reminds us that sex is a part of love: each of the lovers is losing a winning match, ‘played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods’. The lovers are unaffected. Juliet is so by nature, and she quickly teaches Romeo to give up the affectations which would be appropriate to the courtship of a Rosaline:

ROMEO. Lady, by yonder blessed moon a swear,

That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops –

JULIET. O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

ROMEO. What shall I swear by?

JULIET. Do not swear at all…

In the last analysis, the ‘true’ of the love of Romeo and Juliet is borne out by their actions, which have earned them a place among the great lovers of legend; but it is also conveyed to us emotionally by the poetic power of many of their speeches: the lines forming a sonnet which they speak upon first meeting; Juliet’s speeches from the window to Romeo below in the orchard; her ‘serenade’ invoking the earlier coming of ‘love-performing Night’; the lines constituting an aubade (song at dawn), which the lovers speak in debating whether dawn, the hour of parting, is indeed at hand; and the long speech which Romeo, on the point of taking the poison, addressed to Paris, Juliet, Tybalt, and the ‘lean, abhorred monster’, ‘unsubstantial death’.


I think that love between Romeo and Juliet is the true love, because they are worried for each other, enjoy every minute to be together. Instead of ban on their marriage they keep their love through the feud of two chief families, jealousy and separation.

Romeo and Juliet had the romantic relation as well as passionate: serenades under the balcony, the secret meetings, declaration of love. I think they had spiritual and physical contacts.

Before Romeo went out they asked Friar Lawrence to help them to get the marriage. After that they became the legal husband and wife.

Juliet did not want to get married with Paris because she loved Romeo. She did the risky step in the name of love. She could not live without Romeo, she could not breathe without Romeo. Knowing about the death of Juliet Romeo killed him-self and Juliet knowing about the death of Romeo commited suicide.

If it was the untrue love, they would not commit suicide, they stayed alive. Because life is the most precious thing that the person has!!!

The two families realized that their feud led to the death of the two lovers and promised never to fight again. Love reconciled two families.


1. Cliffs notes on Shakespears’s Romeo and Juliet. – USA, 1998.

  1. Dictionary of English Language and Culture. – England, 2005. – p. 829.

  2. Dutton Richard. William Shakespeare: A literary life. – New York, 1989.

  3. Essential Dictionary. – Oxford, 2003. – p. 431.

  4. Hollman Bible Dictionary. – USA, 1991. – p.896.

  5. Kahn Coppelia. Marriage in Romeo and Juliet.- California, 1981.

  6. William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. – England, 2000.



Types of love









Ahello_html_m532db167.gifhello_html_4cf5cde1.gifhello_html_4cf5cde1.gifffected Conventional True

love love love


Crazy passion

Untrue love

Great affection

Unreal feelings

Obedience to parents






in the name of love

1 Dictionary of English Language and Culture. – England, 2005. – p. 829.

2 Essential Dictionary. – Oxford, 2003. – p.431.

3 Hollman Bible Dictionary. – USA, 1991. – p. 896.

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