Themes

The power of love

Romeo and Juliet is often considered the greatest love story of all time, so naturally love is a central theme. The play contains some of the most beautiful love poetry ever written, but Shakespeare also portrays romantic love as a dangerously intense force that may lead to rash actions and violence. Within hours of meeting each other, Romeo and Juliet start defying the order of the universe, the values of society, and their previous loyalties to their friends and families. Their love is so strong that they lie and betray the trust of others to get what they want: to be with each other.

The play shows us how this behavior has severe consequences for the people around the lovers. Romeo’s decision to keep his marriage to Juliet from his friend Mercutio eventually leads to Mercutio’s death. Similarly, Juliet’s decision to conceal her marriage and play along with her father’s wedding plans is what causes Count Paris’ downfall; first he suffers a broken heart, and then he is killed by Romeo. 

Obviously, the lovers did not mean for these events to happen, but it is still possible to view their love as a rather selfish quest for happiness.

However, the overwhelming power of love also has fatal consequences for the lovers themselves. Romeo and Juliet insist on the right to choose for themselves, and t...

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