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Love And Death In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet And Othello

1766 words - 7 pages

Romeo and Juliet’s and Othello’s plots are both tragedy. These plays are focused on the destruction of the main relationships within of the plays. In Othello, the main relationship in the play is around Othello and his bride Desdemona. Othello, because of his jealous rage, murders wife who he later finds to be innocent. Romeo and Juliet, which is named for the featured couple, kill themselves in order to be together in an afterlife. They take their own lives because the world around them will not allow them to be together. It would appear that the marriages in these two plays are primarily based on love and should last, but they both end in death because the couples internal pain and sufferings.
Throughout history Romeo and Juliet is often portrayed as an ideal of romantic love, but this is not always the way it is seen by contemporary readers. In fact, according to the source that Shakespeare used to base his play, “The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet” Arthur Brooke describes the characters death as a punishment for their neglect to authority and their un-honest desires. This is most clearly stated in the following passage:
a couple of unfortunate lovers, thrilling themselves to unhonest desire; neglecting the authority and advice of parents and friends; conferring their principal counsels with drunken gossips and superstitious friars (the naturally fit instruments of unchastity); attempting all adventures of peril for th' attaining of their wished lust; using auricular confession the key of whoredom and treason, for furtherance of their purpose; abusing the honourable name of lawful marriage to cloak the shame of stolen contracts; finally by all means of unhonest life hasting to most unhappy death. (Brooks page 2)
Shakespeare kept the controversy of their love when writing his play, but he made the readers sympathize for their youth. He uses the main characters’ love for each other to allow us to overlook the fact that they went against their family’s wishes as well as the advice of their friends. We are able to sympathize with Romeo and Juliet because Shakespeare illustrates their youth (Juliet being 13) and strong love for each other. We can remember our own loves at a young age and can almost fit into the shoes which Romeo and Juliet wore.
Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is built on pure love. A love that is stronger than any other aspect of their lives. Their love is an overpowering force that trumps all other emotions loyalties and social values. An example of this is when Juliet says to Romeo:
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light: But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true Than those that have more cunning to be strange. I should have been more strange, I must confess, But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware, My true love's passion: therefore pardon me, And not impute this yielding to light love, Which the dark night hath so discovered....

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