Compare the love that Romeo feels for Juliet with the love he felt for Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet.

Though modern interpretations of Romeo's feelings for Juliet in Romeo and Juliet are likely to be somewhat cynical, Romeo's love for Juliet is distinguished from his love for Rosaline by his willingness to marry her.

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While we might want to believe there is an ocean of difference between the love Romeo felt for Rosaline and the love he felt for Juliet, it is almost impossible to say that there is any difference at all.

Romeo is an impulsive adolescent who is in love with the idea of being in love. As the play opens, he pines away because Rosaline will not return his love. His father is so worried about him being up at night and asleep by day that he comes to Benvolio to find out what is going on. While Romeo agrees to go to the Capulet party, where Mercutio and Benvolio hope he will meet another girl, Romeo insists there could never, ever, ever possibly be another woman in the world for him.

That is, until he sets eyes on Juliet. At that point, Rosaline is completely forgotten, and Romeo is wholly in love with Juliet. The big difference between Rosaline and Juliet is not the quality of Romeo's love, but the quality of Juliet's response. While Rosaline rejected Romeo, Juliet falls in love with him.

The head-over-heels, all-or-nothing quality of Romeo's love for Juliet is very similar to what he expressed for Rosaline. It is difficult to know if it would have been any more substantial because the couple is only together forty-eight hours. The two hardly know each other, and we have no way of knowing if Romeo might not have fallen head over heels over another pretty girl a month or so after the marriage.

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Interestingly, Romeo's friends seem to suggest that Romeo falls in love a lot, and they do not appear to believe that his love for Juliet is enormously different from his love for Rosaline. Mercutio and Benvolio joke about Romeo's tendency to romanticize his obsessions; Benvolio says that Romeo's love is "blind," and Mercutio mocks Romeo's flowery language by describing Rosaline's "bright eyes" and "quivering thigh."

This certainly seems to anticipate the language Romeo uses when he approaches Juliet later in the play, declaring that she is a "holy shrine" to him and presenting his lips to her as "blushing pilgrims." The language itself is aureate and religious in its imagery, but the intention is not: he is asking to kiss her. The primary difference between Romeo's love for Juliet and his love for Rosaline, in many ways, may lie in the fact that his love for Juliet is declared and requited.

Throughout the play, it is really Juliet who appears to be the grounding influence. We might argue that, had any previous woman reciprocated Romeo's love and been similarly inclined towards flights of fancy and elaborate courtships, Romeo might have behaved in a similar fashion. Juliet thinks about the long-term consequences of things, to an extent, but she is only thirteen, after all.

Do Romeo and Juliet really love each other? Unfortunately their actions prevent us from ever discovering whether this was love or simply another of Romeo's typical infatuations.

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Actually, to be totally frank, there is one school of thought that says we never really find out if Romeo and Juliet had 'true love' for each other. The tragedy of the play 'Romeo and Juliet'by William Shakespeare is, of course, that they both die so young that they (and we) never get to find out if it was lasting love or infatuation. Romeo, though, knows what infatuative 'love' is. It is more like 'love of self' and often people are in love with the way the other special person makes them feel, rather than experiencing a 'giving' kind of love which relies more on caring for the other person and their needs. Many readers like to believe that Romeo has already experienced this kind of infatuative love and so would recognise it if turned up again - if his love for Juliet feels different, then we can hope he realises it is not the same as the superficial feelings he had for Rosaline.

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At the beginning of the play, Romeo is lovesick over Rosaline.  Benvolio says he is full of sorrow.  Romeo says that he is in love with Rosaline, but out of her favor.  She has obviously not requited his love, and he is very depressed.  When Romeo sees Juliet at the Capulet's party, he forgets about Rosaline, so his "love" for Rosaline was more like infatuation, puppy love.

Romeo's love for Juliet is more than infatuation.  Romeo woos her with religious imagery:

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.


O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

It's one of the great pickup lines of all-time.  Although it's love-at-first sight, Romeo does commit to marry her the next day.  He also gives up his identity (name) to be with her, which is usually what the wife does for her husband.  Whereas his infatuation with Rosaline was not expressed verbally (only emotionally), Romeo's love for Juliet is poetic--full of fire, imagery, and metaphysical conceits--suggesting it will last.


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The primary difference between loving Rosaline and loving Juliet is that his love for Rosaline is unrequited. He spends the first several scenes of the play in various states of depression over the fact that he is "out of her favor" (I.i.168) though he loves Rosaline still. In contrast, Juliet loves him so much that she is willing to give up her Capulet name on the night they meet, vowing that her feelings are genuine. She begs Romeo to profess the same feelings toward her:

But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than those that have more coying to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard’st, ere I was ‘ware,
My true love’s passion. (II.ii.104-108)

In these lines, she effectively contrasts her feelings to those of the emotionally unreachable Rosaline.

It can also be argued that Romeo's love for Rosaline is childish. Proclaiming love for a person who has never shown similar feelings is not true love. True love is instead born out of shared experiences, both the peace shared in happy circumstances and the grief shared in life's tragedies. Rosaline shares none of this with Romeo. Thus, he doesn't truly love her; he is infatuated with the idea of loving her. Juliet, by contrast, is willing fake her own death and leave her family in order to be with Romeo. In the end, she is willing to die when she discovers that Romeo has committed suicide. Her emotions are deep and genuine, and Romeo's feelings reflect this depth of emotion. Their love is quickly lived, but there is a depth to the emotions between them that does not exist with Rosaline.

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Romeo's feelings for Rosaline seem to be largely based on lust, rather than actual love. When Benvolio speaks with Romeo, he gets him to reveal that he is upset about Rosaline's refusal to return his affections. Soon, Romeo reveals that her "chastity [is] well armed" (1.1.218). By this, he seems to mean that he has been trying to sexually seduce Rosaline, and she has been unwilling to sleep with him. Further, he says that she will not "ope her lap to saint-seducing gold" (1.1.222). Perhaps he has tried to give her valuable gifts, like jewelry, in an effort to woo her, and yet she still does not yield to his sexual advances. Further, it seems like Romeo's feelings for her must not have ever been that sincere, since he is able to move on so quickly when he sees Juliet at the Capulets' party on the very same night that he was pining for Rosaline. When he first glimpses Juliet, he asks, "Did my heart love till now?" (1.5.59). The short answer here is no, he did not. He did not really love Rosaline. He even tells Friar Lawrence that he has "forgot [her] name and that name's woe" (2.3.49). He says that he has fallen in love with Juliet and prays that the friar will "consent to marry [them] today" (2.3.68). He never said such things about Rosaline, and so Friar Lawrence realizes that Romeo only loved her with his "eyes" (2.3.72). The fact that Romeo only ever talks about sleeping with Rosaline and is already asking to marry Juliet to marry him says a lot about his feelings for each woman.

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Romeo's "love" for Rosaline is almost identical to his "love" for Juliet. Both "loves" would be better defined as infatuation. What attracts Romeo to each woman is her beauty. Romeo refers to his feelings for Rosaline as the "devout religion of mine eye" and declares that no woman could be "fairer." He doesn't praise Rosaline's character, personality, or wit. In fact, he dislikes her outlook on life, particularly the fact that she is not interested in a physical relationship with Romeo. She never allowed him so much as a kiss.

When he sees Juliet, he falls in love at first "sight" without ever knowing what she is like as a person. He says, "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, / For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night." Again, his only criterion for "love" is the outward appearance of the woman.

Friar Lawrence nails it when he says to Romeo upon hearing he has abandoned Rosaline for Juliet, "Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, / So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies / Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes." Juliet is more susceptible to Romeo's suit, allowing him to kiss her twice during the first minutes of their acquaintance.

Romeo's distinction in why his love for Juliet is different from his love for Rosaline is as follows: "I pray thee, chide me not. Her I love now/ Doth grace for grace and love for love allow." To be fair to Romeo, the fact that Juliet returns his affections allows their relationship to grow, yet the two have known each other less than a day when they exchange private vows of marriage. Still, Romeo's love for Juliet appears to rise above mere infatuation because of the commitment he shows despite obstacles. Even when he learns she is the daughter of his "enemy," he still remains true, and he returns to her at great personal cost after he has been banished.

Although Romeo's feelings for Rosaline and Juliet could be called infatuation rather than love, Romeo displays much more loyalty toward Juliet than he does toward Rosaline.

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Romeo is smitten with both Rosaline and Juliet, but his love for Rosaline is unrequited. Thus, we find him at the beginning of the play pining for Rosaline, who has decided to remain chaste. His friends urge him to get over Rosaline, but he only does so when he encounters Juliet. The Friar, to whom he has spoken at length about his love for Rosaline, is skeptical about his newly-professed love for Juliet. He understandably thinks that Romeo has impulsively given his love to another, which suggests that neither love was really sincere. It is hard to know whether his love for Rosaline was legitimate—it certainly seems so at the beginning of the play—but his love for Juliet certainly is. He is willing to die for her. I would argue Romeo loves both women passionately, but his love for Juliet seems more substantial.

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The beginning of Act I, sc. i, of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet begins with a street brawl between the members of the House of Montague and the House of Capulet. Prince Escalus warns both Lord Capulet and Lord Montague that the next time there is a fight between the memebers of either household, they will pay with their livees. 

Lady Montague is worried, as his her husband, were Romeo was during the fray. They are concerneed, as is his friend Benvolio, that Romeo has been depressed; Lord and Lady Montague ask Benvolio if he can try and find out what's been bothering their son.

Benvolio has a conversation with Romeo in which Romeo confides his love for Rosaline. Unfortunately for Rome, Rosaline is a woman who does not return his affections and has taken a vow of chastity. Benvolio  encourages Romeo to forget about her and look for another woman to love to no avail; Romeo remains despondent over his love for Rosaline. 

In Act I, sc. ii, Romeo's friends learn of the "old accustomed feast" Lord Capulet is hosting that evening in his house when they run into Peter, a Capulet servant who is sent to invite the guest on the list. He asks the Montague boys to read the list for him. Romeo goes only when he learn Rosaline is invited to the party, a masquerade. 

It appears that Romeo just wants to be in love with someone who returns that love. 

Act I, sc. IV, on the way to the masquerade, Romeo reveals a bad dream, an omen that the evening's events will lead to death. 

Act I, sc. V, is the moment that Romeo lays eyes on Juliet for the first time and instantly forgets all about Rosaline.  This time Romeo finds a young girl who returns his love and matches his intensity. 

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To compare means noting similarity and difference. In the case of Romeo's different loves for Juliet and Rosaline, I find some surprising similarities.

Romeo may have indeed been driven by two things for both ladies when all was said and done: physical appearance and attainability. Rosaline had beauty beyond measure (until Romeo met Juliet), yet she had this feature that made her unattainable, she wanted to be a nun. Thus, dating and sex were not an option for her. This usually makes a girl less attractive. I almost wonder if Romeo did not just like the idea that she was out of his reach.

Juliet was also beautiful, but at first Romeo did not know how unattainable she was. Upon learning it though, he makes effort all the more to know for sure that a future relationship was possible with her.

In terms of difference, many people judge Romeo's first love as infatuation. It was a crush, with no option to ever exercise feelings and determine if a love relationship was possible. Some might even say it was lustful because Romeo's words of adoration about Rosaline generally focused on her physical beauty and sexual appeal. Romeo's second love, to Juliet, is often judged as true love because it is a self-sacrificing love. Romeo is willing to give up on the feud and appeal to Tybalt as a relative. He mourns with Juliet over their separation. Willing to lose his own life to be with Juliet in heaven or wherever after life, many find Romeo's suicide romantic.

A final worthy note is Romeo's selfishness. Of both girls, Romeo wants what he wants and impulsively works to get it at all costs.

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Very good question! When thinking about Romeo and his infatuation with Rosalind, it is important to consider Act II scene 4, when Romeo tells the Friar about his new-found love for Juliet and how it has superseded his former love for Juliet. What is interesting is how the Friar talks about his former relationship with Rosalind. Note how the Friar says to Romeo that he had chided him for "doting, not for loving, pupil mine," which suggests that from the Friar's perspective at least Romeo was completely infatuated rather than in love with Rosalind. Also let us consider what Romeo himself says about his love for Juliet, and how he implicitly compares his love for her with his love for Rosalind. Somewhat exasperatedly he says to the Friar:

I pray thee chide me not. Her I love now

Doth grace for grace and love for love allow.

The other did not so.

Although therefore he does recognise that his affections have changed rather swiftly, at least he himself identifies the difference with his relationship with Juliet. This relationship is one of equals, where grace matches grace and love is wedded with love. He is able to state categorically that his relationship with Rosalind, perhaps supporting what the Friar said, did not allow for such a marriage of true minds.

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We are given very little information about Rosaline, other than the fact that Romeo has a huge crush on her and is in despair because Rosaline has chosen to remain chaste (a virgin). Benvolio, one of Romeo's friends and cousins, tries to convince him that there are other fish in the sea, but it's no use...until Romeo sees Juliet at the ball and the image of Rosaline is swept from his mind forever!

It seems that Romeo can easily forget Rosaline, but is willing to die for Juliet, so I suppose one could say that his feelings for Rosaline were just an infatuation, while his love for Juliet was true and lasting.

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