Maturity And Immaturity In The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet
Love is often mistaken for an idealized emotion, where two individuals fall in love at first sight and that love remains perpetual. However, that love often is merely a temporary emotion, especially in young lovers. Young love is considered an immature feeling, as it tends to misguide those impacted by it. The impacted lovers who fall too deeply in love will only be met with heartbreak, just like the young teenage lovers, Romeo and Juliet. In William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare builds upon the theme that the passion and intensity of young love often conceal the hasty and emotional nature of it by displaying the maturity and immaturity in Juliet and the maturity in Friar Laurence.
First, Juliet’s maturity and immaturity demonstrates the hastiness of young love. As Romeo and Juliet exchanged their love throughout their conversation, Juliet began to reflect upon her actions. She realizes that she “was too fond” where Romeo would believe she “was too quickly won”. Romeo may “think her havior light”, so Juliet “should have been more strange”. Juliet felt as if she had been too affectionate and had let her intense passion overpower her, ruining the prideful reputation she wished to maintain. Unlike most young lovers, Juliet became aware of such a fast-paced love. Knowing how intense and violent her love for Romeo was, Juliet was able to stop to understand her and Romeo’s feelings. She wanted to make sure that Romeo’s feelings were just as faithful and loyal as hers, for “if thou swear’st, thou mayst prove false”. Even if Romeo swears that he truly loves her, he can turn out to be lying due to the transience of his intense passion. Juliet was able to identify these aspects in their relationship that most young lovers tend to forget for their “love” has blinded them from understanding. However, shortly after, Juliet’s immaturity has overpowered her maturity. When Romeo asked for a promise of their love, Juliet states that she “gave thee mine before thou didst request it”. She “would it were to give again” for “her bounty is as boundless as the sea, her love as deep”. Juliet had already pledged her love to Romeo before he even asked. Also, she’s willing to give it again and again for her generosity is limitless like the ocean and her love is just as deep. This greatly contrasts her previous words. Juliet has not yet understood her own feelings, yet she let her emotions rush her into this confusing relationship.
On the other hand, the maturity in Friar Laurence helped demonstrate the abrupt and emotional young love. Because Friar Laurence is older than Romeo and Juliet, he has much more wisdom and knowledge towards one’s feelings. When Romeo informed Friar Laurence that he has long forgotten about his former lover, Rosaline, Friar Laurence was appalled. He recalls Romeo’s “swallow cheeks for Rosaline” and “how much salt water was thrown away in waste to season love”. Friar Laurence then concludes that “young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes”. Romeo was emotionally shaken when Rosaline did not love him back, and he had shed many tears which only Friar Laurence seemed to remember. The moment Romeo laid eyes on Juliet, Romeo had long forgotten his deep affection for Rosaline. Friar Laurence’s wise words and reminders help depict the hastiness and emotional aspect of young love. Young love is mostly based on the admiration of one’s appearance, and not the personality or habits of one. Due to the hastiness and emotional aspects, that “love” is, in fact, an infatuation. Romeo’s love for Rosaline was an infatuation, and possibly so was his and Juliet’s relationship. Each character had blindly and emotionally loved another purely based on their physical features, and that love became nothing but a hasty, intense, and short-lived admiration.
By showing the maturity and immaturity in Juliet and the maturity in Friar Laurence, William Shakespeare was able to build on the theme that the passion and intensity of young love often obscures the hasty and emotional nature of it. Juliet’s maturity allowed her to see the rush in her and Romeo’s relationship, yet she speaks very contradicting words just a few moments later, where she states that her love for Romeo had no end. With his wisdom and maturity, Friar Laurence was able to see that the two young lovers’ hasty and emotional affection was purely based on looks and physical attraction. From the very beginning, Romeo and Juliet had been too rash, letting their emotions take charge rather than proper judgment. They had blindly plunged into a relationship they called “love”, when it was nothing but a mere hasty decision and lack of understanding of their emotions.
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