Love is powerful. They say that love can conquer all obstacles in its path. Even conquer those in love. Love drives us to act in ways we could never imagine. But when many hear this, usually eros, romantic love, comes to mind. But what about other types of love? According to The Audiopedia, that provides definitions and explanations for many different words, “Storge is a Greek word for ‘natural affection’ such as a love of a parent to its offspring and vice versa,” (Audiopedia 0:18-0:27). A great example of showing love for one's family can be found in William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. In those times, family pride and honor was everything, especially for the character, Tybalt, who was also conquered by love. Through the use of a Tragic Pattern in the play’s structure, to the type of love Tybalt displays, along with Shakespeare’s inspiration and how important showing honor for one’s family is in their culture, William Shakespeare proves how love conquers all in his play, Romeo and Juliet.
One way Shakespeare proves how love conquers all is found in the structure of Romeo and Juliet. Robert Anderson, who wrote the ¨background¨ of our textbook said, “A tragedy is a narrative about serious and important actions that end unhappily,” (Anderson 732). The Tragic Pattern is a guideline to the play’s plot, showing how each act unfolds and eventually leads to the resolution. The pattern shows how Act I begins with the introduction of the main characters and their conflicts. “Now by the stock and honor of my kin / To strike him dead I hold it not a sin,” (1.5.60-61). Act I starts out introducing the characters and their main conflicts as shown through the text when Tybalt first sees Romeo. Act II is the rising action that arises in the play is when Tybalt wants to kill Romeo. For example, “Tybalt, the kingsman to old Capulet/ Hath sent a letter to his father’s house,” (2.4.6-7). Act III is, “The crisis or turning point, is the moment when a choice made by the main characters determines the direction of the action: upward to a happy ending, which would be a comedy, or downward to tragedy,¨ (Anderson 732). This turning point is shown in Act III of the play. “Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries / That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw,” (3.1.67-68). When Romeo, one of the main characters, decided to fight Tybalt, this determined the action to end downward into tragedy. Tybalt was conquered by his love for family pride, that he ended up being killed by Romeo. This leads into Act IV, following the consequences of these actions. The prince ordered for Romeo to be banished for killing Tybalt. While Juliet’s parents were forcing her to marry Paris. Juliet believed that the only solution was to fake her death. “What if this mixture do not work at all? / Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?/ No, no! This shall forbid it. Lie thou there,” (4.3.21-23). This leads to the climax and resolution in Act V. Romeo believed that Juliet was dead, so he drank the poison. When she woke up and saw him dead, she stabbed herself with his dagger. “This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die, [She stabs herself and falls.]¨ (5.3.170). Romeo and Juliet were also conquered by their love for each other. So much that these star-crossed lovers took their lives because they didn’t want to live without each other. Shakespeare follows the Tragic Pattern’s structure in his play to prove that love conquers all.
Another way Shakespeare shows how love conquers all is through the character, Tybalt. Despite what many think, Tybalt does show love in the play. However, this love is called “storge,” or family love. Tybalt’s love for his family had caused his hate for the Montagues, especially Romeo. Earlier in the play, Tybalt hated Romeo the moment he saw him at Capulet’s house. “It fits when such a villain is a guest/ I’ll not endure him,” (1.5.77-78). Family honor was very important to Tybalt, and since the Montagues were the Capulet’s rival family, he despised them. So much to the point where he ended up fighting, and killing, Romeo’s friend Mercutio. The picture below, from the Museum of New Yourk City, artwork by Byron Company, shows this. “O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead!” (3.1.118). Later on, this hatred escalated into Tybalt wanting to kill Romeo. They fight but Tybalt dies. “Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here/ Shalt with him hence, [They fight. Tybalt falls.] (3.1.32-33). Though many may believe that Tybalt’s hate for Romeo was the only reason he was defeated, it was mainly his love for family honor that conquered him in the end. Tybalt’s love for his family is shown throughout the play and proves that love conquers all.
A third way Shakespeare shows how love conquers all in Romeo and Juliet is found in his inspiration for the play. Robert Anderson, writer of our textbook´s ¨background¨ section wrote, “Romeo and Juliet is based on a long narrative poem by Arthur Brooke, which was published in 1562 as The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet. Brooke’s popular poem itself was based on older Italian stories,” (Anderson 733). Shakespeare dramatized his play, making the obstacles in the star-crossed lover’s way far greater. Ralph Fiennes, in The Inspiration for Romeo and Juliet, states, “Shakespeare’s rewrite, the first ever full length stage version of the story, doesn’t blame the lovers, it celebrates them,” (Fiennes 2:52-3:00). Romeo and Juliet were conquered by their love for one another, so much that they took their own lives because of that love. But the characters from Shakespeare’s play weren’t the only ones conquered by love. By presenting Romeo and Juliet as “star-crossed lovers,” instead of a couple who had to die because they married against their parent´s will and broke laws, could even make the audience fall more in love with the characters from Shakespeare’s version. Through love conquered characters and audience alike, William Shakespeare shows how love conquers all through inspiration found from Brooke’s poem.
Finally, the fourth way Shakespeare proves how love conquers all is shown through the culture during the time that the play took place. Jennifer Minter, article writer for English Works says, “Ultimately, the families’ hatred for each other arises from a strong desire to uphold their family’s pride and honour and neither party seems capable of overcoming the “ancient grudge” and the simmering grievances and tension,” (Minter 1). In those times, family honor was everything, and one would do anything to protect their family. Tybalt's hate for Romeo was fueled by the fact that he was a Montague, his family’s enemy. “Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe / A villain, that is hither come in spite / To scorn at our solemnity this night,” (1.5.63-65). Tybalt was conquered by his love for his family, and that made him uncontrollable. This love, in the end, is what eventually got him killed. Tybalt wanting to honor and protect his family is another way that Shakespeare proves love conquers all.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare never fails to prove that love conquers all obstacles in its path. It was shown in the structure of the Tragic Pattern, through each act that led to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Also, through the character, Tybalt, and his hate for the Montagues fueled by his love for his family. The culture back then also shows this, with the importance of family honor and how far one will go for family. Even from Shakespeare’s inspiration with how he changed Arthur Brooke´s poem and presented the couple as star-crossed lovers. Romeo and Juliet show us time and time again how love conquers all. No matter what type, eros or storge, love can get the best of us. Whether we choose to let it, is up to us.
Works Cited List
Company, Byron. Tybalt fighting Mercutio. Digital image. Mcny. N.p., n.d. Web.
The Inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare Uncovered, 2015. Web. 11 May 2017.
Minter, Jennifer. "Romeo and Juliet." English Works. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2017.
Prod. Blakeway Productions, 116 Films and THIRTEEN in Association with Shakespeare’s Globe.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Elements of Literature. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2007. 734-851. Print.
"The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet." Elements of Literature. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2007. 732-733. Print.
What Is STORGE? What Does STORGE Mean? STORGE Meaning, Definition & Explanation. Prod. The Audiopedia. Youtube. N.p., 30 Apr. 2017. Web. 4 June 2017.