n Love comparison compare contrast essaysRomeo and Juliet and Shakespeare in Love:Does Love Conquer All?
One of the greatest questions addressed in both Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare in Love is the question “does love conquer all?” Should one follow his heart or should one conform to society’s view as to what is proper? In the movie, love does in fact conquer all, but, in the play, it does not. In the play Romeo and Juliet decide to follow their hearts and they do not conform to society’s wishes. Romeo and Juliet end up dead and the feud between the Montagues and Capulets is over. In the case of Shakespeare in Love, Will loses Viola but his love for her lives on as seen in his later writings. So, one could argue that in some instances love does indeed conquer all and, in other cases, it does not. Following the path of true love can be a tragic one as seen in Romeo and Juliet. As for Shakespeare in Love, both characters meet society’s wishes and therefore return to their normal lives never being quite the same.
First, let us examine the story of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, one of the most influential writers of all time. As we know, in this famous play, two young people instantaneously fall in love in the midst of a long and bitter feud between their families. After all is said and done, Juliet’s plan to fake her death is ruined and both she and Romeo end up killing themselves. The feud between the Montagues and Capulets had ended when both sides realized the pain that it had cost. The movie Shakespeare in Love was about the life of Will Shakespeare during the time that Romeo and Juliet was written. In the movie, Will is writing a play that is supposed to be a comedy. Along the way, Will encounters a woman, Viola. Will becomes enchanted with Viola and they begin to pursue a passionate love affair. Viola is an upper class, aristocratic woman with whom a marriage as already been arranged. As this affair continues, Will writes more of the play which is now turning out to be a love story that illustrates the actual events taking place in Will’s life. Romeo and Juliet had become the fictional counterparts of Will and Viola. Eventually, the play is written with great success. However, Will loses Viola to her pre-arranged husband, but he always carries a special place in is heart for her as exemplified in his writings.
In looking at the play, we wonder whether it was wise for Romeo and Juliet to make the rash decisions that each of them made. Both followed their hearts and chose not to follow society’s norms. Since we are aware of what occurs at the end of the story, obviously we would say that Romeo and Juliet did the wrong thing. Love obviously clouded Romeo and Juliet’s judgment. Had they not been so blinded by this love, both could have found a way for their love to exist. Then, the two could have lived happily ever after. Instead, both ended up dead. The Montague-Capulet feud had ended with a costly price for both sides.
Was William Shakespeare trying to send a message to his audience? I think that he was trying to say two things. First of all, love seems to have no boundaries. If not dealt with properly, love can lead down this path of tragedy that Romeo and Juliet followed. Secondly, a problem is rarely reconciled until each side is confronted with a severe loss. Unfortunately, in this case it was the loss of life of not just Romeo and Juliet, but others such as Tybalt, Mercutio, and Paris. Looking at the big picture, it is obvious that this famous love led to the resolution of a long feud. However, analyzing the parts that make this whole, we can conclude that the end of any feud cannot make up for the loss of life that occurred while the feud was taking place.
As we turn to the movie we see that Will and Viola don’t fight hard enough to be together. They let society’s views, especially those of Queen Elizabeth I tell them how to live and who they can be with. Oddly enough, the message from this movie is quite different from that of the play. Will and Viola don’t follow their hearts; they conform to societys expectations. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, they don’t take their love to the extreme. Also unlike Romeo and Juliet, they don’t end up dead. No one dies in this movie because everyone lives according to society’s demands. Again the question arises, which is better? Will is a better man for knowing Viola and his works are now inspired by his one true love.
In Romeo and Juliet, the audience is confronted with many issues that people deal with today as well as issues dealt with by those who lived when this play was written. The question addressed to the audience of both works is, should two people in love follow their hearts or should they follow what society says is the right thing to do? In my opinion, there is no answer to this question. There are always consequences, whether positive or negative, for every action. One will never know the result of his or her actions until it is too late.