In the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare love is one of the major themes.

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In the play “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare love is one of the major themes. In this play it explores different types of loves. There are different types of love for example Romeo love towards Rosaline is really an infatuation and Romeo love towards Juliet is with tender passion.

Romeo is a free spirited youth of 16 living in 17th century Verona, Italy.  In the beginning of the play, Romeo is pining for Rosaline, the object of his unrequited love.  He spends most of his time sighing over his depressing and virtually nonexistent love life.  Romeo is first mentioned as an aimless wanderer, preoccupied with thoughts of Rosaline. Such passivity in his approach to love with Rosaline is a theme that recurs until he meets Juliet.

Rosaline is Romeo's obsession, yet it is in his description of her that his superficial approach to love is revealed.  When describing her to the cynical Benvolio, Romeo's descriptions are vague and generalized, referencing Rosaline's physical beauty and attractiveness.  Rather than articulating why he loves her or offering specifics examples of her uniqueness, he curses the unfairness of unrequited love and alluring beauty: "Show me a mistress that is passing fair, what doth her beauty serve, but as a note, Where I may read who passed that passing fair" (I, i, 234-6).  Romeo goes on to lament his spurned advances: "She is rich in beauty, only poor, that, when she dies, with beauty dies her store" (I, i, 215-6).  Unlike the personal connection he later expresses for Juliet, this utterance simply reflects regret for Rosaline's vow of chastity.

Throughout this play, Romeo's relationship with Rosaline is passive. He spends his time in anguish, wavering between simplistic adulation and utter despair. Furthermore, Romeo spends a great deal of time in limbo, mooning over a woman who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Despite Benvolio's urging, the lovesick teen will not move on or consider the merits of other women.

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Romeo follows Rosaline to a party hosted by the Capulet family, sworn enemies to his own.  However, while there, he sulks moodily and refuses to partake in the festivities.  He isolates himself from the merrymaking both socially and physically in his refusal to dance and banter with Mercutio.  Romeo spends his time, not pursuing Rosaline, but despairing: "Under Love's heavy burden I do sink" (I, iv, 22).

Despite Romeo's great declarations of love for Rosaline, his feelings are actually fleeting, as shown by his behavior when he spies young Juliet.  He is smitten at first sight, describing her as ...

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