In William’s Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is claimed by a critic, Jo Ledingham, that what they are both participating in is no more than ‘Puppy love’, and I disagree and agree with that statement. As speculated by Robert William, “[w]e know too that it can’t be any later than 1596, or any earlier than 1591” (William, Robert). This idea of it being set in such a time raises the question of whether or not the two, Romeo of 18 years and Juliet of 13, were qualified as adults, or if they were even capable of real love at such an age.
- The idea of Puppy love being true: Seeing as Juliet and Romeo originally fall for one another based merely on looks rather than what they are on the inside, it is clear to see that they are not necessarily experienced in love, and instead follow an idea of love at first sight. Romeo, more than Juliet, has this one quality shining through him more than anything else, lustful and depressed when what he wants does not come his way, but also quick to change when another beauty catches his eye. After lamenting over his lost Rosaline, and being forced to go to a party, seeing Juliet for the first time, and then immediately describing her as “beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear” (1:5 47). Juliet, likewise falls for the son of her enemy, but with a hint of logistics and understanding of the issue that could be their relationship, realizing the stress and anger could boil over in to an all out family feud war. As she stands on her balcony wondering “O Romeo, Romeo! [Why] art thou Romeo?” (2:2 33), she realizes that her love is doomed to fail due to her lover being Romeo, and not one of another name. This shows that Romeo follows the path of puppy love,while Juliet can think more deeply, for certainly looks would not compel the intelligent Juliet to cross a lifelong family rivalry.
- In another perspective, it can be seen that Romeo and Juliet have seen through just beauty and looks, but have established a fate-like connection bonding the two for life, till death do they part. Romeo instantly strives to do all he can to win over his love, marrying almost immediately, and while Juliet may have her doubts, she agrees to marry Romeo if “[He] purpose marriage, send [her] word by to-morrow” (2:2 144). This shows that they have found the connection, and thus would like to secure it before it is found out by their parents who would immediately destroy the relationship and punish their kids for participating in such a relationship. This shows their true commitment to one another, to the point of where Romeo asks Friar Laurence to marry them, and follows through in a very short period of time. During the end of the play, they even die for one another, and as a result, break up their families long bitterness.
So, in a way, I agree with the statement, but in another point of view, I would rather back the opposite. Overall, I would say that at the beginning, their love is merely a physical looks-based love, but as it progresses, I am certain that it has evolved past the point of poultry love, but one of understanding and willingness to end oneself to be with their loved on forever.