Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Do you think Romeo and Juliet are in love with each other or merely infatuated? [Please support response with three exerpts from the text.] 

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

By the very fact that Romeo and Juliet meet, fall in love and are married in the course of three days, it is difficult to believe that they experience deep spiritual love. What they feel immediately is an intensely passionate physical attraction which does develop into an erotic love; this love is certainly more than mere infatuation because they are both willing to defend the other and to die when they cannot be with each other.

When Romeo first sees Juliet in Act I, Scene V, he is immediately enamored with her, struck by Cupid's bow:

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!....
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!....
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. (1.5.42-51)

Also, that Romeo continues to love Juliet after he learns she is a Capulet demonstrates more depth than mere sexual attraction; he is willing to risk his life to love her. Likewise, Juliet's feelings for Romeo are more than infatuation, for as Romeo stands beneath her balcony in Act II, Romeo hears the fair Juliet bemoan that he is a Montague, but declares that his name is not important.

Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet. (2.2.34-36)
In response to Juliet, Romeo declares that he will give up his name:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear the word. (2.2.55-57)
Later, after Friar Laurence performs the marriage ceremony for them, Romeo encounters Tybalt, whom he has hated; however, rather than immediately stab him when he sees Mercutio and Tybalt engaged, as he normally would do, Romeo tells Tybalt that now he loves him and tries to make peace. Unfortunately, Tybalt does not believe him and Romeo gets in the way, causing Mercutio to be mortally wounded. After Juliet learns of Tybalt's death at the hands of Romeo, although she loves her cousin deeply, her loyalties are to Romeo, her husband, and she is devastated that he has been banished.
...I'll to my wedding bed;
And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead! (3.2.139-140)
Finally, Romeo and Juliet are each so distraught over the idea that the other is dead that they do not wish to live themselves. Certainly, then, the truly romantic love that Romeo and Juliet have for each other goes much deeper than infatuation.
Sources:

We’ve answered 318,936 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question