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Why Is Romeo and Juliet Not a Love Story, but a Tragedy?

Academic level:
High school
Type of paper:
Essay (any type)
English and Literature
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It is impossible to disagree that love and romance are the central elements of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Nevertheless, the author shows how blind devotion can destroy young people lives, which turns this common love story into a real tragedy.

Though it is common for modern culture to romanticize the feelings of the play’s protagonists, such an approach creates a different meaning that opposes the author’s message. Accordingly, to the play, all the dialogues between Romeo and Juliet are filled with numerous religious phrases, such as comparing the girl’s hands with a “holy shrine” and numerous repetitions of the word “saints, holy palmers” (Act 2 Scene 2). Such communication was not common for the youth of that time, and Shakespeare uses it to show how addictive and self-destruction love can be if people treat it like a religion. Afterward, such an attitude toward their love forces characters to abandon their former lives, betray friends, and dive into the continuous web of intrigues and crimes, which is more typical in the tragedy genre.

Furthermore, it is impossible to neglect the tragic ending of the play when speaking about its true meaning. The author does not demonstrate a commitment to eternal love but rather a compulsive and irrational act that could have been prevented if Romeo and Juliet were less blinded by their feelings. Moreover, the theme of death in the name of love can be seen throughout all the acts of the play as the symbol of a powerful but self-destructive love. Therefore, at the culmination of the play, it appears that love brought the couple merely sorrow and struggles instead of happiness.

Despite the powerful feeling that can make people create wonderful things and change themselves for the better, blind love can sometimes become the central source of pain and sadness. The precise portrayal of these facts makes Romeo and Juliet a real tragedy rather than a love story.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, W., & Fischlin, D. (2013). The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Don Mills, ON: OUP Canada.

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