What is the meaning of the love between Romeo and Juliet?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are a  couple of issues here that need to be addressed.  I think that there might be a real question as to whether or not Romeo and Juliet were actually in love with each other.  They were infatuated with one another and sought escape in the eyes of the other, but I think that a good deal of argument could be made as to whether or not they were in love with one another.  With this, a great statement could be made on the nature of love, in general, in that one believes it to be one reality, but in actuality, it is another.  If we were to presume that both of the young people are in love with each other, then I think that the statement or meaning made about their love is that there are times when individuals must follow their own heart and wherever it leads them.  This is something that becomes even more compelling when put against the trends of social convention.  Love is shown to be a force that is opposition with prevailing social edicts.  The subjective of Romeo and Juliet collides with the external of Verona.  In this light, a statement might be made about the nature of love, as a subjective experience, as being one that collides with external realities.  Finally, the idea of love creating pain within another is something that is brought out.  There is physical pain associated with love, but also the mental anguish or torment caused as a part of it.  When Juliet learns of Romeo killing Tybalt, Juliet laments about a "damned saint" and an "honorable villain."  The contradictory images are brought out to reflect how the people we love can do terrible things and how love, itself, is a source of unending pain, questioning, and doubt that is inescapable.

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