“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear; Beauty too rich for sure, for earth too dear!”(Shakespeare Act 1 Sc.5) Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, chronicles the life of two fictional characters known as Romeo and Juliet. Both characters often experience lots of loving connections towards one another. Throughout a series of close readings, Shakespeare reveals that Romeo and Juliet do not love each other because they seek love as a way to distract themselves from their mediocre lives, seek physical beauty above anything else, and their love is dominated by carnal temptation.
Shakespeare introduced the idea that Romeo and Juliet love each other out of ‘dissatisfaction’ with their own lives. Act 1 Scene 4/5 of the text states, “[Love] is too rough, too rude, too rowdy, and it pricks like a thorn.”(Shakespeare) Romeo states this when Capulet “will not stay the siege of loving terms. O, she is rich in beauty, only poor, That when she dies with beauty dies her store,”(Shakespeare) as stated in Act 1 Scene 1. Romeo could not get Rosaline to love him back, therefore Benvolio advises to put the ‘old flame’ out to get over Rosaline. In other words, Benvolio advises Romeo to find a new lover to cure his sadness when he states in Act 1 Scene 2, “One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish.”(Shakespeare) This causes Romeo to begin to love Juliet as he sees her at Capulet’s party to put out the ‘old flames.’ Romeo began to love Juliet because he was dissatisfied about how he couldn’t find love in Rosaline, therefore he replaced her. Thereafter, Lady Capulet states to Juliet in Act 1 Scene 3, “Examine every married lineament, And see how one another lends content and what obscured in this fair volume lies…This precious book of love…by having him, make yourself no less.”(Shakespeare) Juliet is pressured by Lady Capulet to find love at her party. Therefore, Juliet began to love Romeo since she was pressured. The two characters do not love each other truly since they have only seen each other from a distance. Romeo loves Juliet because he was dissatisfied that he couldn’t score Rosaline, and Juliet loves Romeo because she was pressured to find love by Lady Capulet.
Shakespeare begins to develop a new idea that Romeo and Juliet are only attracted to each other physically. Romeo sees Benvolio and Mercutio as role models when it comes to love. Benvolio advises Romeo on how to get over Rosaline while Mercutio is more straightforward with this advice. Mercutio advises Romeo to cure himself of love by having sex. Act 2 Scene 2 states, “ The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in Heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch her cheek.”(Shakespeare) Romeo believes Juliet is far more beautiful than a moon in the night sky. However, he believes virginity makes her look sick. Only fools hold on to their virginity! Let it go!, Romeo cries. He listens to Mercutio’s advice and begins to love her physically. He wants to have sex with her to get over Rosaline. Thereafter, Juliet states in Act 3 Scene 2, “And bring in cloudy night immediately. Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night, That runaway’s eyes may wink and Romeo Leap to these arm. Come, civil night…Give me my Romeo… .”(Shakespeare) Juliet feels the same way towards Romeo. Juliet wants to also have sex with Romeo at night even though he has not taken possession of her yet. Juliet wants to make love in the dark to submit her husband Romeo. Both Romeo and Juliet love each other physically and want to have sex with one another.
Romeo and Juliet’s love is dominated by ‘carnal temptations’ over authentic love because they love one another for their body physical features. Romeo states in Act 1 Scene 5, “Beauty too rich for sure for earth too dear! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”(Shakespeare) Romeo is absolutely stunned with Juliet’s beauty. That catches his eye first when he sees her. He describes how her beauty is so magnificent that its too good for earth to dear. Romeo is in love with Juliet because of her physical beauty. On the other hand, Juliet states in Act 3 Scene 2, “let me, a shy virgin, learn the strange act of sex so that it seems true…Romeo will come leap into my arms and no one will know.”(Shakespeare) Later in the story Juliet states, “I’m not thankful for the man you’ve chosen for me.”(Shakespeare Act 3 Sc.5) Juliet is in love with Romeo which is dominated with ‘carnal temptations.’ She wants Romeo for sex and marriage which does not represent true love. Juliet’s family does not believe Romeo is the right man for her to marry since their families are rivals. Her family wants her to marry Count Paris, who Juliet does not love. Juliet’s family insults her and claims Juliet was a no good curse. She states how she wants to make love with Romeo in the dark. In other words, she wants Romeo to help her lose her virginity. Both characters, Romeo and Juliet, have a love connection which is dominated by ‘carnal temptations’ over true love.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s story characters, Romeo and Juliet, go through a series of love scenes. They experience both exuberant and depressing moments throughout the story, revealing to the reader that their love is false, not true. Through Shakespeare’s unique story, the reader is shown that both characters love each other for the wrong reasons: out of dissatisfaction, physical beauty, and carnal temptation. Perhaps they are sending a message to the reader to question themselves when they believe they are ‘in love’ and what they are willing to do for their love.