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Shakespeare is pointing out how normal these two are. They find love and they experience the good side of love. They bask in the passion and desire more.
The truly sad aspect of love is that it cannot be good all of the time. In fact, many would argue that love would not be as good as it is without pain. Love does not stay good all the time for everyone, especially Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare brings us to the pain of love rather quickly in the play as the couple begins to encounter trouble at almost every turn. They will do anything to be together and if this means faking death and running away, they have no problem doing it. The risks are strange and compelling and while Juliet is wise to stop and weight everything before she drinks the potion, she still puts all of her faith in the power of love. That is a nice thought but a misguided one. Juliet listen with her heart instead of her head and it costs her dearly. When Romeo thinks his beloved is dead, he says, "I will lie with thee tonight" (V.i.35) and in the tomb, he says:
I will stay with thee;
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again: here, I still will remain
With worms that are thou chambermaids. (V.iii.104-7)
In this scene, we see the pain of love in all its glory. We know the truth but he does not and the sadness he feels is nothing next to the sadness she will feel upon awakening. Death is almost a welcome relief as Juliet tries to taste some of the remaining poison on Romeo's lips. Loves takes a turn for the worse in someone's life every day. A lover cheats or a lover runs away. A lover may turn abusive or addictive and these are things that bring pain and they can happen almost overnight. How Romeo and Juliet suffer is not so important as why they do. They suffer because they love and most of the time, we simply cannot have one without the other. Strangely, without pain, the joy of love would be devoid of almost happiness because there would nothing with which to compare it.
We sometimes like to think of drama and other forms of entertainments as simply that: entertainment. However, there must always be a bit of truth in anything for it to remain in the audience's mind. This is true for movies, plays and songs. The audience relates to the issue at hand and that is what makes it powerful. Even in our fast-paced society, we still see relationships splattered with the pain and joy of love. The recent split between Arnold and Maria Schwarzenegger demonstrate the gamut of love. The powers that keep a marriage together in Hollywood can also lead to the devastating result of cheating. Romeo and Juliet may seem drastic but it is not. It is so full of the truth of love, it is almost ridiculous. All aspects of it are like real life. Death may not always occur but pain does. Henry Myers writes, "Here we see not a happy ending, as in a fairy story, and not an unhappy ending, as in some grim naturalistic tale . . . But a truly tragic ending, in which joy and sorrow are inevitably joined together -- a victory in defeat, a victory of the human spirit accompanied by the inevitable defeat of finite human beings" (162). Love keeps the world moving; it makes life worth living in so many cases, it cannot be properly defined. The setting and language of Shakespeare's play might feel antiquated but the meaning is more real than ever. Love still makes people behave like fools and it always will. It brings us the most happy moments of our lives as well as the most painful ones. It is the prize for being alive but no one said it was easy.
Myers, Henry Alonzo. (1963) "Tragedy and Comedy." A Midsummer Night's Dream. Wolfgang Clemen, ed. New York: Signet Classics. Print.
Shakespeare, William. (1994) Romeo and Juliet. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
New York: Barnes and Noble Books. Print.[continue]
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