The Pursuit of Happiness and Love Throughout the Romeo and Juliet Poem

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In William Shakespeare’s poem, Romeo and Juliet, conveys the fact that individuals that are influenced by their passions and are driven to accomplish their goals will give no quarter even if it is at the detriment of themselves and those around them. This misguided pursuit of self indulgence will result in the ultimate consequence.

By disregarding expectations our characters hope to achieve their bliss, even though they ignore the reality presented to them the pleas and advice given by their family’s. While Juliet is a very passionate individual who refuses to allow the expectations of her family restrain her from her love, Romeo. Her love and affection towards Romeo had been very longing as she consistently expresses her need for him during the comparison of the nightingale and the lark. Juliet projects her need for Romeo to remain by insisting that it is still night and dark, and as such can remain with her longer. However as the rise of the sun is inevitable the tone of desperation portrayed is evident and had she not let him go he certainly would have had his life threatened. Attempts by either party to attain more of each others presence despite the irrisional nature of doing so are based upon their respective idealistic views upon their future and happiness.

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In further futile attempts of achieving unrealistic goals of satisfaction, individuals attempt all for the fulfillment of their desperate desire. As these goals are by their nature unachievable the actions taken when individuals have inevitably failed to satisfy their need must equally irrasional. Due to the responsibility of Tybalt’s death laying at Romeo’s feet the Prince banishes Romeo from the walls of Verona. The two lovers panic at this with the realization that they will be unable to see each other. With this sudden realisation the two impulsively seek a solution to their life crisis.

Romeo rushes to the Friar’s cell hoping to escape this terrible situation. Friar Lawrence is astounded by Romeo’s actions and advises him to spend his honeymoon with Juliet instead of telling him to flee from Verona. This is in the face of Romeo’s banishment making going to the Capulet’s home certain death if he is found by the guardsmen. Juliet is the next to turn to the Friar for assistance due to her parents wanting her to Paris. The Friar in response formulates a daft scheme to have Juliet fake her death. He tells her that if she has the strength to take her life rather then be betrothed to another then she should have the strength to go through with this scheme. Due to this reactionary action of which he thought to be the “perfect plan”, the whole situation escalated into a cascade of ill timed events. The message meant to be delivered to Romeo never made it due to Friar John being quarantined, thus causing Romeo to presume that Juliet was actually dead and thus resulted in his death.

Individuals always retain biased thoughts when thing of choices for their satisfaction. By consequence those of whom lust for selfish indulgence provoke those who are affected to become more narcissistic and egotistical. As “[Romeo’s] name is Romeo and a Montague/The son of [Juliet’s] great enemy”, they can not disregard their family's past to pursue their love. Shakspeare further reveals the impulsive actions such as Friar Laurence’s “consent to marry [them] today” . The love that Romeo and Juliet feel for each other overrides the feud between their families. The two lovers obtain an egocentric mindset as they are influenced by the strength of their affection. When they decide to be conjoined in marriage they refuted their responsibilities to their actions. Due to the two lovers adopted increasingly egocentric attitudes their actions helped contribute to their ill fated end.

Pressures to conform and follow expectations will influence an individual to compromise their happiness, though some individuals refuse to obey said expectations for the sake of pursuing their own personal happiness. Factors of greed and selfish motives are catalysts to jeopardize happiness in order to obtain these factors. Juliet made the decision to pursue her happiness by neglecting the restrictions of her family and society in order to be with the love of her life, Romeo. Happiness was the goal for both of these individuals, thought at the end of it, neither were able to achieve it due to the long standing family feud. So in acts to pursue their own happiness they both ended up meeting their demise.

Works cited

  1. Shakespeare, W. (1597). Romeo and Juliet.
  2. Wells, S. (Ed.). (2004). Romeo and Juliet (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare.
  3. Bevington, D. (Ed.). (2014). Romeo and Juliet (The New Cambridge Shakespeare). Cambridge University Press.
  4. Greenblatt, S. (2006). Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. W. W. Norton & Company.
  5. Frye, N. (1965). Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy. University of Toronto Press.
  6. Halliday, F. E. (1964). A Shakespeare Companion, 1564–1964. Penguin Books.
  7. Baldwin, T. W. (1959). On the Literary Genetics of Shakspeare's Poems and Sonnets. University of Illinois Press.
  8. Spencer, T. J. B. (Ed.). (1986). Romeo and Juliet: Texts and Contexts (The Bedford Shakespeare). Bedford/St. Martin's.
  9. Evans, G. (2016). The Shakespeare Companion. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  10. Holland, P. (2002). The Oxford Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. Oxford University Press.

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