Heroin is a powerful drug that gets people hooked immediately and can be fatal. Love parallels heroin in the play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, where Romeo and Juliet, from opposing families, fall in love while discovering love’s dangers and obsessions. Friar Lawrence, the priest of the local church, tries to prevent Romeo and Juliet’s tragic tale, but fate thwarts his plan to save the lovers. To prevent others from further calamities, Shakespeare reveals the crippling side effects of an addiction to love through Romeo, Juliet, and Friar Lawrence.
The potent force of love causes Romeo, an obedient Montague, to relinquish his family’s beliefs and his former love to be in Juliet’s favor. Romeo sees Juliet at a party, and declares, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, /For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night”(I.v.59-60). Romeo had previously idolizes Rosaline, another young maiden. Shakespeare’s words “Did my heart love till now?” display how quickly he throws Rosaline away for Juliet. Juliet’s “true beauty” strikes Romeo, which makes him realize that he would do anything for her. He replies to a Capulet and therefore enemy duel invitation, “I do protest I never injured thee/But love thee better than thou canst devise…And so, good Capulet, which name I tender/As dearly as mine own, be satisfied”(III. i. 69-70, 72-73). The Montagues and the Capulets ready themselves for another fight, while Romeo says “good Capulet,” a combination of words never spoken by a Montague. All of a sudden, Romeo changes from upholding Montague beliefs and loving Rosaline to rejecting Montague beliefs and loving Juliet.
Addiction to love forces Juliet to feed her addiction to Romeo regardless of the consequences. When she is ordered by her parents to marry Paris, an eligible bachelor, she pleads, “O bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,/From off the battlements of any tower…And I will do it without any fear or doubt to live an unstained wife to my love”(IV.i.78-79,89-90). Her suicidal thoughts such as “O bid me leap, rather than marry Paris”, signifies how far she would go to be with Romeo rather than Paris. The phrase “And I will do it without any fear or doubt” conveys the fact that Juliet values being with Romeo more than her own life. Indeed, Juliet takes her own life in the last scene while saying, “Yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief. O, happy dagger, / This is thy sheath. There rust, and let me die”(V.iii.174-175). Shakespeare’s use of “let me die” indicates how readily Juliet commits suicide as a result of her obsession with Romeo. Her addiction ultimately leads to death, the final repercussion of her actions.
Dependence on love opens a can of worms that affects Friar Lawrence and others close to the lovers. Friar Lawrence, priest of the local church, tells Romeo “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast”(II.iv.101). He says “wisely and slow,” a caution to keep Romeo and Juliet’s love slow and steady. However, this foreshadows “stumbles” on Romeo and Juliet’s part. Their love begins too suddenly and proves to be addicting, with severe aftereffects. Friar Lawrence also mentions to Romeo and Juliet “These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, / Which as they kiss, consume”(II.vi.9-11). Shakespeare’s simile comparing “violent delights” and “fire and powder” informs readers that Romeo and Juliet’s love is too sudden and will eventually be destroyed. The words “Which as they kiss, consume” extend the simile, but it has another meaning: when fire and powder “kiss” or explode, they harm others as well as themselves. Romeo and Juliet perish in the end, and so do Paris, Juliet’s cousin, and Romeo’s friend. No one escapes unscathed. Romeo and Juliet’s need for each other prevails over their friends and eventually results in death.
Love has temerity without any thought for the consequences. Romeo and Juliet encountered incredible opposition, with no solution in sight. They had a love so strong it became an addiction, one where nothing else mattered. But as with heroin, their love isolated them from their families and changed their beliefs. Romeo and Juliet met their demise from love’s effects. Love’s aftermath leaves a trail of destruction and tears that cannot be reversed.
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