2.1 Love represented as a unifying force
Love requires shared feelings, an assurance of pleasures that nobody and nothing can ever affect. It only exists as long as it is eternal, and those who are truly in love admit that this feeling is flourishing in their hearts being alive beyond the grave too. It is a temple of all of us, a place which always waits a drop of desire, is a path paved to eternity, a long road that involves compromises from both parts and sometimes love goes beyond the power of understanding. The theme of love can be found in all literatures of all time. It is given special importance, as being a fundamental human experience which differs according to the age, sex, social status, belief, historical age or culture. Love is like a wave, it makes you no longer a master of your own life, you have another master which guides you and your decisions. William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet seizes this stage of love: Romeo replaces Juliet’s name with “saint”. For Romeo, Juliet is the saint icon and he is the pilgrim who glorifies her.
The love between Romeo and Juliet is as passionate as it is fragile, it is a painting in such a thin cloth that it breaks down to the lightest scratch. It’s a red cloth wrapping the protagonists in death’s mantle long before the end, as a morbid prophecy. Romeo and Juliet die hard but in a special way which makes this death so beautiful and remarkable. Desperate and endless hugs cover Juliet’s soft body. The poetry of death melts into the poetry of love, till the tears spring out of the soul and you have the sensation that pain will last to infinity, that is how it feels the loss of the other, as an infinite pain. In a world like Romeo and Juliet’s, the only right you have is to die opposing the system, and not to love the person you want to. Thus the protagonists prove that nothing can stop them to love each other and in the end, their love wins the fight with Veronese society and it is glorified.
Love is approached in literature from various angles, thus over time, there can be found different ideas which refer to love. The three main situations of love in Romeo and Juliet are: love as initiation, love as passion and tragic love. The whole story spins around these types of love which exist not only in Romeo and Juliet but in all love stories of the time.
Love as initiation in contoured in the first part of the play. Romeo is already in Love with Rosaline and hopes to see her at Capulet’s feast, that’s why he risks everything to go there, because a Montague is not allowed to attend such a grand feast organized by the rival family. When he shows his bravery coming at the feast, Romeo is “a failed lover, more in
love with the melancholy image of himself that failure has engendered than with his presumed beloved, Rosaline”. Even if he comes to meet with Rosaline, Romeo is blinded by another beautiful girl, which proves to be the light in that Veronese world entirely filled with darkness. Love comes when Romeo less expects, thus his failure in love now seems to disappear and he is now sure that he is another person willing to do everything for love even if he doesn’t know the name of the girl or the family she belongs to. But at their first meeting, Romeo follows the formalities of Verona and his speech sums up only to compliments which are also forms of love but indirect ones. It is amazing how powerful develops the love “at first sight” experienced by Romeo and Juliet. The initiation begins in the tragedy with the first kiss asked by Romeo who apologizes “for profanity of one physical contact, touching her hand, by proposing a more intimate one that will heal it”. But the first kiss proves to be given and not shared because on her heart is printed the fact that a kiss given without her father’s approval is a great sin. But in time Juliet is more and more in love with her beloved Romeo and kissing is no more a sin but a reciprocal act which gives her control and certainty. So Romeo and Juliet is that love story in which the women becomes stronger and smarter that the man next to her.
Love as passion is one of the most imposing step of love in literature. It is characterized by strong attraction, the existence of obstacles in knowing the feeling of love, by breaking some crucial rules of the community in which the two lovers live. In this euphoria of passionate love, lovers live a state of permanent exaltation that leads to a soul imbalance in the end. Often the lovers are separated by circumstances and this distance is required to check the feelings of the two persons and, at the same time, to keep their intensity. Love-passion is always accompanied by sufferance, a certain amount of insanity and the temptation of death.
At every meeting, Romeo and Juliet touch with supreme love their hands and mouths so the initiation ends and starts another chapter, love as passion. These gestures prove to be the prelude which leads to more than a kiss but a night spend together, unifying their bodies and uniting their souls forever after their wedding because a communion before the wedding is unacceptable and they know it, that’s why they wait the blessing of God before. They feel the holy peace in their souls. The sexual consummation brings them physical joys which feed their marriage and maintain the passion in their lives. Now that the barrier falls and they become one soul, they feed their passion with romantic moments. Even if Juliet is just a girl in her family’s eyes, she has sexual needs and the communion with Romeo makes her mature. The love changes immediately with this night, they reach the deepest intensity of their passion, and becomes a consumed love which increases the intensity of their experiences and of the entire story. Juliet now through Romeo learns what love is and is conscious that he is the love of her life and nothing can change that. But in her wedding night Juliet anticipates that this one will be followed by her death thus she is thoughtful that she lives every moment of her life at high intensity. For Juliet her short marriage with Romeo is better than a long one with Paris, because the passion of love will remain in eternity while in a marriage with a person she doesn’t want in her life the passion being transformed in domesticity and she will be captured in a life she doesn’t want to live and which brings her sadness not happiness.
In Greek mythology besides the god of love, Eros, there is also the god of death, Tanasos, and modern psychology considers death and love are two dominant instincts of the human psyche. The destiny of the great lovers in literary works is under the sign of love and death.Thus, the love-tragedy becomes a love-symbol being immortalized after the death of the protagonists as in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the work of art we are discussing in this thesis.
The tragic love starts in Romeo and Juliet with their names. But “what’s in a name?”. In this Shakespearian love story, in a name is everything. The destiny of the society is decided by the name people have.