Do you think that Juliet really loves Romeo? Or the other way around?My only love sprung from my only hateMy fav quote

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I disagree with my colleague.  I think both Romeo and Juliet are far too young to know what love is... my argument is that the young people are in love with the idea of being in love. 

Let's think about how this tragedy unfolds.  When we meet Romeo, he is mooning over his lost love, Rosaline.  He is quite overwrought;  he's clearly enjoying, to some extent, the poetric role of the spurned lover.  Ah!  But then another romantic theme from poetry comes his way in the form of Juliet....yes, yes, love at first sight...blah blah....but what's really going on here?  It is is the excitement of the conquest not the actual girl.  When they both collapse into their "my only love sprung from my only hate" wailing, well, all the better for it fits even more nicely into their "ideas" about love that both have read about.  A rebellion makes the relationship all the more steamy. 

Romeo thinks himself a Petrarch, but Juliet is more concerned with getting out from under the thumb of her parents, especially her father.  Remember, Lord Capulet is about to marry his daughter off to someone who would make a good financial and social match for both his family and for the family of Paris.  Love had nothing to do with it.  Juliet, motivated somewhat by romantic love and more by the desire to free herself from this match, finds herself the object of Romeo's deluded affections.  It seems a perfect "out":  got the whole rebellion thing, all the sweeter since Romeo is the family's enemy; Romeo is pretty easy on the eyes, Romeo plans to take her way.

So let's condense all this:

  1. Romeo just got dumped.
  2. Romeo a romantic who reads a heck of a lot of poetry
  3. Romeo falls in love at first sight
  4. Juliet wants to escape
  5. Juliet thinks Romeo is hot

Recipe:  Yum!  Disaster...

Do they love one another, truly?  Maybe in time they might have come to love each other, but what they have here is the illusion of love, a specter so compelling that they both die, clinging at its ethereal robes. 

lizbv eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you bring up some very important information: yes, Romeo does seem to fall in love quite easily.  He was sick with love for Rosaline just MINUTES before meeting Juliet, so quite frankly it seems to be more a matter of lust than love.  Even Friar Laurence notes this as he claims that "young men's love then lies/ Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes" (Act II, sc. iii). 

However, I have to disagree with your statement that Juliet was trying to escape from her father and the marriage arrangement he had made. In fact, when Paris first approaches Lord capulet with the idea of marrying Juliet, her father objects and states that she is still much too young and has yet to turn 14.  He even says "Let two more summers wither in their pride, 'ere we may think her ripe to be a bride" (Act I, sc ii).  He also stresses that she must agree to the match as well during this conversation with Paris, showing that he seems to be a fair father who is concerned with his daughter's happiness and safety.  Furthermore, it is not until after Tybalt's death that her father makes this match for her with Paris and tells her that she MUST marry him; this is the day after her marriage to Romeo.  Therefore, up untl this point she has been given no reason to not trust her parents' choices, nor have her parents been cruel or overbearing. Until then, Juliet was acting of her own accord.

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even by Shakespeare's standards, Juliet especially was VERY young.  Does that mean she didn't truly love Romeo?  Well, as I haven't walked in her shoes, exactly, I think it's a bit difficult to judge.  However, I do feel like I understand Romeo a bit better - he was in love with the idea of being in love, whether it be Rosaline or Juliet, and he was madly, passionately, head over heels in love with...well, anyone in a skirt.  I, too, went through this idea that the person who had caught my eye was the end all be all of my existence...and none of those young men who caught my eye were truly the ones I was meant to be with.

And I don't buy into the idea that their willingness to kill themselves "proves" that they loved each other.  It proves that they were willful, impetuous young people who should have had more parental love and guidance in their lives.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also tend to believe that Romeo and Juliet were far too young to know what real love is.  They were infatuated and obsessed with one another. They came together at a time when this "love" was forbidden, which can make it even more powerful and affective.  The rush of being together was so exciting, in part, because their relationship was not supposed to be due to their fueding families.  They made extremely rash decisions without putting much thought into the consequences of those decisions, which led to both of their untimely deaths.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All these points are excellent, but the point is they both give up everything for each other--they died for each other.  Maybe they are too young to really know what love is, but there are examples of marriages today where the two were married at a very young age and still going strong.  Isn't it possible that Romeo and Juliet truly did love one another and they were meant to be together to put the feud to rest for good? 

theartful-twist7 | Student

Everyone has great points pointing towards them not being truly in love. After all, Romeo did indeed suddenly change mind from Rosaline to Juliet extremely quickly, and before you know it they're just having sex, which suggests that really they're just doing it for more lustful reasons than really being in love. But that's looking at it realistically. And why do that? This is a play. It isn't made to be realistic, it's a story, not a real life occurrence. 
I mean, Shakespeare wrote this to entice the audience into loving it. He wrote it dramatically, and would it have been so dramatic if they hadn't been truly in love? Not at all! So I think for the purpose of the story they are definitely really in love. Realistically, no this isn't possible, but this isn't real, this is a play. The audience wouldn't have enjoyed it as much then and still today wouldn't enjoy it! So, that's my answer! 
In conclusion, although evidence in the play hints towards them being simply lusty teenagers, for the sake of the play and gaining an interested audience, I believe Shakespeare wrote these two characters to be truly in love. 

teakeandzeus | Student

(continued from previous post)

You have to know that they are right for you, and that nothing can separate you to be completely in love. I don’t believe Romeo and Juliet are “in love” I think they are “in flattery” they are just amazed that someone seems to care that much about them, and feel the need to return that to one another. They feel lonely without the other, but as said by Janet Fitch, “Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. And intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” I believe in that. “know what you want,” how do you know what you want, with another person, just because they give you attention, just because you like the attention, doesn’t mean that you want them forever; it doesn’t mean your in love.

teakeandzeus | Student

The way Romeo and Juliet talk about, and do things for one another is just crazy. They act like they are completely and irrevocably in love, when they don’t even really know each other. They are married, after knowing one another for a day. Marriage is a sign of forever. Wanting the rest of your life with someone, should be because they are the most amazing person in the world in your eyes, its because you love them with all you have, and if all you have is a days worth of love, then either you are lethargically shallow, your don’t have the first clue of what love is. Love isn’t how beautiful one is, whether it’s on the inside or the outside. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you want to spend forever with them, hell, even if you love someone, you don’t have to want to be with them that much. (read next post)

jess111 | Student

how can they be at love when they are so young theu dont know what the word love even means

they like each other as girlfriend/boyfriend but i dont think its love that they are in

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Romeo and Juliet

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