Different Types of Love in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
In Romeo and Juliet, love is an integral theme and there is many
representations of love; family love, courtly love, sexual love, and
most importantly; the love between Romeo and Juliet. By comparing
their love to others, we can see just how committed the star-crossed
We first see examples of sexual love when Sampson and Gregory are
talking at the very beginning of the play. They are coarse and vulgar,
making jokes about the male sexual organs and raping women. They way
the speak portrays the general view about women and sex in those days.
Sex seems to be the main topic of conversation for Shakespearians as
we see further on in the play with Mercutio and his friends.
When Sampson speaks of “thrusting his maids to the wall” he is
suggesting that women are weaker and can be used for the sexual
pleasures of men. They see women as objects for sex, and not as
people. They even speak about sex when they see two Montague servants,
and Gregory says “draw thy tool”. This is a sexual innuendo, implying
that Sampson should prepare for sex because the Montague servants are
This is very different to the way Romeo and Juliet view sex. For them
it was part of love, not something to be taken lightly. They used sex
to consummate their marriage.
Courtly love is an idealised version of love, it is an admiration of
someone and building that admiration into something it isn’t. It is
the ‘love’ Romeo feels for Rosaline, and the ‘love’ Paris feels for
Juliet. Romeo never meets Rosaline, yet he believes to be in love with
her. He carves her name into trees and stone, and mopes around writing
love poetry. Yet when he meets Juliet, he forgets all about Rosaline.
Rosaline is aware of Romeos ‘feelings’ towards her and spurns his
advances, yet Romeo takes this rejection as encouragement and
continues to attempt to woo her. These are strong features of courtly
Paris treats his ‘love’ in a different manner, but the same features
are there. He goes to meet Lord Capulet and arranges to marry Juliet,
although he has never met her. Paris knows Juliet does not wish to
marry him, yet this only makes him more determined to marry her as he
sees Juliet as a prize, to show his superiority over everyone else.
In today’s society, we would view Lord Capulet as a cold, unfeeling
father because of the way he treats his daughter, but Lord Capulet is
a prime example of Shakespearian fathers. His only wish is to make a
good marriage for his daughter, but she rejects his help. Capulet
doesn’t know Juliet has fallen for Romeo and so cannot be expected to
understand why she doesn’t wish to marry Paris. Lord...