How does Shakespeare show us that love is a complex emotion in Romeo and Juliet?

How does Shakespeare show us that love is a complex emotion in Romeo and Juliet?
I have to write an essay, and how love is displayed as complex.. I am not completely sure.

Romeo and Juliet.

Theme of Love

Romeo and Juliet are two of the most famous lovers in history, but some people doubt that their historic love lives up to its reputation. Romeo starts the play infatuated with Rosaline, a gorgeous girl with no interest in him. His “true-love-at-first-sight” encounter with Juliet seems like it could be just another case of puppy love. The two lovers come from warring families, but their love overcomes their families’ hatred. Their whirlwind romance, however, ends in tragedy when each thinks the other is dead and chooses to commit suicide rather than live alone. While Romeo and Juliet never doubt the power of love, other characters criticize love and reject is as simply infatuation or lust. Some people interpret the play as a cautionary tale on the dangers of young love. Others argue that Romeo and Juliet’s love develops throughout the play from a giddy flirtation to something deeper, and that the play charts the path of a relationship from infatuation to real love.


Love in ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Romeo and Juliet has become forever associated with love. The play has become an iconic story of love and passion, and the name “Romeo” is still used to describe young lovers.

Shakespeare’s treatment of love in the play is complex and multifaceted. He uses love in its many guises to thread together the key relationships in the play.

Fickle Love

Some characters fall in and out of love very quickly in Romeo and Juliet. For example, Romeo is in love with Rosaline at the start of the play, which is presented as an immature infatuation. Today, we might use the term “puppy love” to describe this. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is shallow and nobody really believes that it will last, including Friar Laurence:

Romeo. Thou chid’st me oft for loving Rosaline.

Friar Laurence. For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.

Similarly, Paris’ love for Juliet is borne out of tradition, not passion. He has identified her as a good candidate for a wife and approaches her father to arrange the marriage. Although this was the tradition at the time, it also says something about Paris’ staid attitude towards love. He even admits to Friar Laurence that in his haste to rush the wedding through he hasn’t discussed it with his bride-to-be:

Friar Laurence. On Thursday, sir? the time is very short.

Paris. My father Capulet will have it so;
And I am nothing slow to slack his haste.

Friar Laurence. You say you do not know the lady’s mind:
Uneven is the course, I like it not.

Paris. Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt’s death,
And therefore have I little talked of love;

Full Types of Love…



Romantic love can be beautiful and ennobling.

The love between Romeo and Juliet is sublimely beautiful. Not only do they feel deeply for each other, but they also respect each other. Neither attempts to impose his or her will on the other; neither places his or her welfare above the other. Realizing that love and lust are not the same, they prize each other spiritually as well as physically. Therefore, meeting in secret from time to time to gratify their powerful sexual desires without the permanent commitment of marriage is out of the question. Such an arrangement would cheapen their relationship; it would reduce their love to a mere bestial craving. Consequently, at great risk, they decide to sanctify their relationship with a marriage ceremony binding them to eternal love. Theirs is no Hollywood marriage for three months or three years, based on selfish sexual gratification; theirs is a marriage meant for eternity, based on unselfish commitment to the spouse.

Passion Can Overtake Reason and Common Sense.

So powerful is the love between Romeo and Juliet that it subjugates reason and common sense as guiding forces. True, their love has helped them achieve a level of maturity beyond their years, but it has also caused them to take dangerous risks. Their behavior, as well as events over which they have no control, vernalize their relationship, giving it little time to reach full growth. In the end, their overpowering feelings cause them to take their own lives. Likewise, so powerful is the hatred between the Montagues and Capulets that it promotes constant tension and violence, resulting in the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio–and, of course, the deaths of their own children, Romeo and Juliet.