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Courtly Love In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1365 words - 5 pages

Courtly Love in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

In the Elizabethan era men would go to all extremes to show women how
much they loved them. This was called Courtly love. Around this time,
men were expected to declare their love for a woman like this, and the
women enjoyed the men telling them how beautiful they were. Men who
wished for a woman to love them back would carry on wooing their
mistresses until necessary or until their mistress's fell in love with
them. Although the thought of this sounds like a good idea for a
women, because receiving attention is a nice thing, but there were
rules and consequences. The men had to look for a lady of an
unattainable status, for example women who were already married or
they may have been of a higher class of people. The consequences of
courtly love came after the wooing stage. Men were sometimes ignored
by these women for days, even weeks! But if the man's love was genuine
then he would do whatever it takes to "win" the woman over. This
method of wooing would nearly always determine the fate of the couple,
i.e. if they had chemistry, and it would also establish if they would
marry or not. If the man gave up on these rules for whatever reason,
it was concluded that he did not truly love his woman, and he was
frowned upon.

The rules of courtly love were fairly simple. They consisted of the
ten rules in relation to wooing a women and marrying her. Men were to
fall in love with a woman of higher significance or with a woman who
was already married. The woman was to reject his advances to conserve
her honour and keep her good name. This coldness of the lady inflamed
the man's passion, and resulted in him sighing with grief and being
very depressed. This anger instigates his love even more and he tries
to impress his lady especially well. He puts his faith in god to make
her like him more. The consequences were not being able to sleep as if
it were some sort of virus. This is shortly followed by a burst of
jealousy.

In the play "Romeo and Juliet" there are numerous examples of courtly
love. It is first shown in Act One Scene One where Romeo is explaining
how much he loves Rosaline to his friend Benvolio:

"Alas that love, whose view is muffled still,

Should without eyes pathways to his will."

Here Romeo is cursing cupid for making him fall in love with Rosaline.
He later goes on to tell Benvolio that he thinks she is the most
beautiful creature alive and that he hasn't slept in days or eaten
because he is miserable without her and he sees no point in living, if
it's not with her. Here he is showing all the signs of courtly love
because he is suffering dearly, yet they are clearly not together. I
do not think this is genuine love to me as he later falls in love with
someone else.

The reader is led to believe this...

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