Romeo and Juliet is known as one of the greatest love stories, but it has its fair share of tragedy as well. The story riddles with themes throughout. Love is the first theme and there is no greater love than the love Romeo and Juliet share. Shakespeare offers his audiences just as much hate as love in Romeo and Juliet. The families of both Romeo and Juliet involve themselves in centuries of feuding. The ongoing feud between the Montagues and Capulets drives Romeo and Juliet into a life of secrecy, which ultimately causes their deaths. Youth is another theme and ties directly to how young both Romeo and Juliet are both in their age and their relationship. The story of Romeo and Juliet uses sex as a theme as well although not in the intimate details of more modern stories. The two lovers concerns are not with the wishes of their warring families, they just want to be together “Deny thy father and refuse thy name / Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn by my love / And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (2.2.34-36). Love is the first theme Shakespeare displays in this play.
The story begins with Romeo in love with Rosaline and it is not long before Romeo realizes that Rosaline does not feel the same about him. Romeo, in fact, tells Benvolio that Rosaline has sworn to a life of chaste. “Then she hath sworn that she will live chaste? / She hath” (1.1.226-227). To Romeo and Benvolio chaste means Rosaline will not engage in sexual activity. Benvolio, who is his cousin, helps Romeo see that Rosaline is not the only girl that he will love the rest of his life. Benvolio convinces Romeo that he needs to consider other women in order to get over Rosaline faster. “By giving liberty unto thine eyes. Examine other beauties!” (1.1.236).
The Capulets hire the help of a servant to send out invitations for the feast, and Romeo accidently gets an invitation. The Capulets are not aware the servant is illiterate. The servant asks for Romeo to help him read the names on the list not knowing that Romeo was a Montague. Near the top of the list Romeo sees Rosaline’s name and immediately decides he must go to that feast. Romeo manipulates the servant into inviting him to the feast so that he can see Rosaline. As Romeo attends the feast Juliet distracts his heart and love finds him at first glance. Romeo acknowledges his love for Juliet by stating, “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.” (2.2.133-135).
Juliet is already arranged to marry a very wealthy man, who goes by the name of Paris, in two years because her father states that she is too young now. A feast is set up for Juliet and Paris to meet “What say you? Can you love the gentleman? /This night you shall behold him at our feast.” (1.3.86-87). Lady Capulet wants Juliet to analyze Paris for potential to marry him because he is wealthy. “Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face, / And find delight writ there with beauty's pen. / Examine...