Pain and Joy of Love in Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare knew a few things about people and a few things about life as well. One play that demonstrates his astute powers of observation is Romeo and Juliet, where he explores the pain love. Love is often praised because of the good emotions it brings into the world. However, the truth is that love also brings much pain. Things rarely go just the way we want them too and sometimes, they do not go our way at all. With tragedy, Shakespeare illustrates the power of love and the tenacity of the human spirit because it is better to have known love than not to have experienced it at all. Love has two sides; one side is beautiful while the other is painful and love, the emotion, can hardly exist without lovers experiencing both sides. This theme is just as popular today as it was in Shakespeare's day. Love cannot exist without pain and people around us prove this every day. Love is nothing without suffering and Shakespeare proves this with Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet is magical because it captures the quintessential beauty of love. The young couple experiences the depth of love that changes lives and drives people to do almost anything to be together. Love makes people want to change their lives and this is what makes Romeo and Juliet so popular. These two would go to the opposite end of the world to be with one another and while a part of this seems crazy, we can relate to it. Shakespeare allows these two to be themselves throughout the play. They are young and far from prudent. Character is an issue because it directly affects the outcome of the play. A more submissive Romeo or Juliet would have never rendered the same results and this is why character matters. Henry Myers says that through them, Shakespeare tells the audience, "Character is a deeper and more important influence in human affairs that luck or chance" (Myers 1963). Young or old, in love or not, we hold the power of our destiny in our hands and Romeo and Juliet prove this with every move they make.

Shakespeare emphasizes the power of love when sparks fly as the lovers meet. They are bound to one another almost instantaneously and nothing describes this better than love. Their path of passion will not be stopped by no one or nothing. Shakespeare allows the audience to see how this love transpires with language. When Romeo sees Juliet, he says, "O she doth teach the torches to burn bright; / Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night / Like a rich jewel in AEthiop's ear" (Shakespeare I.v.41-6). Similarly, Juliet finds Romeo equally attractive and upon finding out he is a Montague, she says:

My only love sprung from my only hate!

Too early see unknown, and known too late!

Prodigious birth of love it is to me,

That I must love a loathed enemy" (I.v.38-41)

Here we see how powerful love is and how quickly it can happen. This aspect of their relationship reinforces how we cannot control the emotion we call love. The heart simply knows when it knows and the head has very little to do with the choice the heart makes. Shakespeare knew this and wanted to bring it to attention with these two young people from feuding families.

Love will not be controlled and, many times, it refuses to be rational. Those in love rarely stop to consider reason or logic in their decisions. This is because the heart overrules the head and makes logic seem almost silly. We see irrationality with Romeo and Juliet as Romeo will abandon his family name on a dime and he even tells Juliet, "Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized; / Henceforth I never will be Romeo" (II.i.93-4). Juliet, too, experiences the same kind of irrationality, noting how she has fallen so quickly for this young man. She swears to "prove more true / Than those that have more cunning to be strange" (II.i.42-3). She also tells him, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, / My love as deep; the more I give to thee, / The more I have, for both are infinite" (II.i.175-7). Love becomes all these two think about. Everything else occurring in their world is of lesser…