Romeo and Juliet Love vs Hate Quotes
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is a tale about two warring families, the Montagues and the Capulets. The two protagonists in the story are from the two families – Romeo is a Montague and Juliet is a Capulet. With nothing else but their will and determination, the two try to break the hatred bond that has separated the two families for far too long.
Unfortunately for them, things do not go as they had anticipated and they meet their untimely deaths at the end of the play. A battle of supremacy between love and hate is therefore a recurring theme in this masterpiece. This tragedy tale shows that nothing good can ever come from blindly embracing either side of the divide. While there is a thin line between love and hate, the fact is that the two represent the polar opposite of each other.
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Characters Who Embrace Love
Romeo & Juliet
These two characters illustrate the dangers of embracing love fully, without reason. Owing to his age and lack of experience in love matters, Romeo is not sure how to approach love. He is therefore moved by superficial things, such as external beauty. When in pursuit of love, he completely abandons reason and throws away common sense.
To some quarters, this may be viewed as romantic. But it is also foolish, because it exposes him, Juliet, their friends and family members to danger. Before he even meets Juliet, he exhibits an uncontrollable weakness for beautiful women when he unsuccessfully pursues Rosaline. Her failure to reciprocate his love pushes him to claim,
“Well, in that hit you miss: she’ll not be hit
With Cupid’s arrow; she hath Dian’s wit;
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm’d,
From love’s weak childish bow she lives unharm’d…” (Act 1 Scene 1)
In the process of his pursuits, he exposes himself to a lot of harm, which he does not seem to care. When Capulet organizes a masquerading party with the intention of introducing his daughter Juliet to Paris, Romeo decides to go to the party of their sworn enemies in order to meet Rosaline. While at the party, he meets Juliet for the first time and he is blown away by her beauty. As a result, he forgets Rosaline, which reveals that his has nothing but infatuation for both ladies. Upon setting his eyes on Juliet, he remarks of her to one servant:
“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!..” (Act 1 Scene 5)
Although he is discovered as an impostor in the party, Lord Capulet is able to intervene and convinces Tybalt not to harm him. Common sense would have shown Romeo not to approach Juliet, because she was the crown jewel of the Capulet family and any contact with her could have sparked a serious war. But it is not so for Romeo, he approaches her and quickly wins her heart with his romantic words. He equates her to a saint and himself to a sinner, upon which her kiss would redeem him from his sins:
“If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (Act 1 Scene 5)
Juliet is also mesmerized by her love for Romeo. At a tender age of only 12 years, she has a misconstrued notion of what love is. The fact that Romeo is willing to risk his life to be with her convinces her that he is truly the one, which also blinds her from the impending danger she is exposing herself and others to. When Romeo sneaks to her window via a wall, she confesses her love for him and declares that she is willing to forsake her family name, if Romeo would forsake his family name too. From then on, Juliet grows madly in love with Romeo. She tells him that:
“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. (Act 2 Scene 1)
Mercutio’s statement that “If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark” (Act 2 Scene 1) summarizes the position of the two lovebirds perfectly. They know no one from their family will consent to their union, so they do everything in secrecy. First it is the marriage, then the consummation in her room and lastly, her faked death in order to elope with Romeo, who had just been exiled. Things do not go their way, because blind love can never hit its mark. As a result of series of unfortunate events, they are forced to commit suicide.
Other characters in the play have their own notion of what love is. To Lady Capulet, love is based on wealth, fame and power. Together with her husband, they want their daughter Juliet to be married to Paris, because he has all three “instruments of love” as he is the Prince’s kin. Lord Capulet believes love is obedience. He does not take it kindly when Juliet claims that she does not want to marry Paris and even threatens to disown her. The same goes for Paris.
He thinks he can command his way into Juliet’s heart when he tells her that she loves him. Friar Laurence and the Nurse see love as passion or a beautiful love story. This is the reason why they go through all lengths to ensure that Romeo and Juliet are together. Mercutio also had his own take on love. He sees love as a sorry excuse to chase after sexual pleasure and therefore, love makes man daft and weak.
Characters Who Exhibit Hatred
While both families show some level of animosity towards each other, Tybalt is the only character that takes this hatred to heart. He is always driven by unknown vendetta towards the Montague family. During the masquerade party, Tybalt recognizes that Romeo is a Montague just by his speech and therefore wants to kill him:
“This, by his voice, should be a Montague.—
Fetch me my rapier, boy.
What dares the slave
Come hither covered with an antic face
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.” (Act 1 Scene 5)
Although he is cautioned from killing Romeo by Lord Capulet, he makes it his mission to hunt him down and kill him. When he confronts Mercutio, Benvolio and then Romeo in Act 3, Romeo informs him that he has no reason to hate him because they are now related through Juliet:
“I do protest, I never injured thee,
But love thee better than thou canst devise,
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love:
And so, good Capulet,- which name I tender
As dearly as my own,- be satisfied. (Act 3 Scene 1)
Tybalt however goes into an altercation with Mercutio, because his ego cannot let him walk away from a fight. And although Romeo is able to stop them, Tybalt plunges his dagger under Romeo’s arm and kills Mercutio. Driven by anger, Romeo is forced to retaliate his comrade’s death. He says, “And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!” He kills Tybalt, which leads him to be exiled by the Prince.
Romeo proves that love and hatred are just two sides of the coin at this instance. At one point he genuinely loves Tybalt because they are related, but this love quickly changes to hate when his friend Mercutio falls to Tybalt’s blade. Hatred is a destructive vice that when embraced leads to destruction of both the recipients and perpetrators. Tybalt’s hatred leads to his untimely death, while Romeo gets exiled and he is separated from his love, Juliet.
The Prince is the only character that understands the power of love and hate and tries to drill some sense into the people affected. He is particularly tired of the continuous disruption of peace between the two families and decrees torture on any person found guilty of causing mayhem.
When Romeo kills Tybalt, he does not sentence him to death as is required, but decides to send him to exile for good. He knows the consequences of killing Romeo. If the death penalty were to be passed on to Romeo, then the Montagues, driven by the love of their dead son, would retaliate in order to inflict the same pain to the Capulets. This would escalate the rivalry even further.
As they say, “nothing brings people together like a tragedy.” At the request of the Prince, the two families decide to squash their rivalry to curtail such events in the future. The lesson we learn from this tale is that: both love and hate, when followed blindly, can lead to serious problems because they removes logic and reasoning in our thought. And just like in the tale, people realize the power these two wield when it is already too late.