Did Romeo and Juliet favor lust over love?

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emk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My difficulty is with the word "favoured."  I believe the play suggests that they wanted love and, as so many people do, they mistook the fierceness of their attraction for true love.

After all, love is as much an action as a feeling.  If it were a feeling alone, we could not be asked, at a wedding ceremony, if we "promise to love...'til death."  Who can promise a feeling?

But the role of feelings in love is also undeniable.  We must be attracted to the other person, and very, very often, the first attraction is physical.

So did Romeo and Juliet favour lust over love?  I think I would say "no."  I may be a romantic at heart, but I think the question is too simplistic and doesn't account for the fact that they were very young and were, as so many young people are, looking for true love in the only way they knew.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree with this statement.

I do not think that they could possibly have been in love yet simply because they barely knew one another.  They fall madly in love (lust?) with each other at first sight, which seems suspicious to me.  They could not have been so attracted to one another's personalities -- Romeo isn't looking across the room thinking "she's a very nice person."  That very same night, he goes to Juliet's balcony and they have that famous scene.  Again, how could they be in love so quickly?

In general, I don't believe that what we experience at first sight can possibly be love.  We can be attracted to others physically right away because physical looks are readily seen.  But we can't be attracted to personalities like that because those are not obvious.

jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oh, really who's to say? What part of love is lust? What part of lust is love? Anyone want to work out the percentages? And besides, both Romeo and Juliet had reasons, other than either lust or love, to get involved with one another. Juliet was being forced into a marriage that she didn't want. And Romeo was desparate to fall in love because he had just been rejected by Rosaline. And both were from hateful, feuding families, so we can add in a bit of youthful rebelliousness into the mix.

So how much, for each, was love? How much was lust? How much was mutual need? How much was rebellion?  Shake it all up and see what you come up with.

auntbetsy | Student

Lust and love are not mutually exclusive.  You can love someone and have lust for them, too.  But I think that they did not know each other well enough to "love" each other.  Their attraction was mainly lust.

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Romeo and Juliet

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