Love has always outlived generations. Theories developed by poets, philosophers and theologians have failed to capture the whole concept of love. Love is powerful. Love can permeate to evolve to change the rules governing the sacred features of it by the adaptation need in the internal or the external environment. Love emerges as the ultimate survivor amidst the stressors and the hindrances.
The Shakespeares literature depicts romantic love as a major theme. In his work, Shakespeare portrays love as the feeling from the beholder's perception. Romantic love does not reveal care about equality, but its concern is a balance. The context of Shakespeares frame of love depicts romantic love as a consented exchange between the participants where they get the most of their expectations. Love comes out as inherent to all human beings across cultures.
In this paper, three works of Shakespeare will be analyzed to explore the theme of romantic love, its value or importance. The paper will mainly focus on the function of romantic love within the world of the play; the power love plays in the given context and the reasons love is valued or devalued in the play. The three books to be analyzed are Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night and the Tempest.
Romantic love in Much Ado about Nothing (Act 4 Scene 1)
In the play, love comes out as a very complicated topic. In Much Ado about Nothing, love takes different grounds. Claudio and Heros love appear clearly. The romantic love is depicted as immature. Claudio is falling in love with the ideation of how Hero looks like, although he does not know her and they have never met before. In the church during their wedding, the love almost immediately fades away when he becomes suspicious of her and he even mimics the farewell quote. He appears full of anger and hatred towards her that he even prefers her death as a cover-up for the shame she has caused (Green 7).
For Hero, her concept of love is simple. She is okay with her fathers choice and is ready to marry Claudio although she does not know him because she believes in her fathers decision. Although Hero presents herself silently and with less opinion about love, she might have a higher voice in privacy.
During the beginning of the play, Beatrice and Benedick view love jokingly and laugh at the idea. It turns out that both are not destined together. However, their views changed gradually when they develop a genuine concern for each other despite their mutual constant insults. Upon falling in love, they are willing to make any sacrifice for their love. He falls out with his friends in defense of the honor of Beatrices cousin.
Romantic love in The Tempest (Act one I, Scene II)
In Act, I Scene II, Ferdinand after is brought to the Prosperos cave by the supernatural music from Ariel and is under the impression that he is the only survivor from the storm. Ferdinand is not yet aware of the presence of Miranda and Prospero, but her father directs Mirandas attention towards Ferdinand. Miranda has never seen a man before, except her father. She thinks of him as a spirit, but her father explains to her that he is human from her reaction towards him. Ferdinand is convinced that she is attracted to him. Miranda displays to be romantically in love with Ferdinand through:
I might call him
A thing divine for nothing natural
I ever saw so noble (Ray 42)
Romantically Ferdinand thinks of Miranda as the goddess of the island. The interaction between them occurs as though it was a natural process of falling in love while it is a witty plan by Prospero- Mirandas father.
Carried at the moments of romantic love, Ferdinand proposes to Miranda, despite the fact that they have only known each for a less than a day. However, Prospero intervenes in the protection of his daughter and the only child. Ferdinand is required to first prove his love. Prospero sets to test Ferdinand and with the accusation of being a spy, he is ordered to be his (Prospero) servant. Miranda pleads on his behalf, which is a declaration of her love for him. Upon being set free, he accepts consequent punishments with the explanation that seeing Miranda daily eases things for him. He also says that the thought of Miranda eases the pain, and he can, therefore, endure anything for her, revealing his love for her. Again, Miranda affirms her love for him (Shakespeare, Raffel and Bloom 29)
Romantic love in The Twelfth Night (Act I, Scene)
In the scene, Duke is lovesick. In fact, the first 15 lines describe his deep, powerful love for Countess Olivia. He describes his love with sweet words full of passion. His desire is to have music to feed his quest for love. He feels an insatiable need for the food of love.' This metaphor is used to display the strength of his experience of love.
If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die (Ray 42).
Although he abruptly urges the musicians to stop the music, enough no more! he addresses the spirit of love. He displays romantic love as a force too broad and with the ability to endure and overcome all the obstacles. When asked by his attendant Orson, he argues that he is in no mood for recreation, which he is deeply in love. He says that his desire for Olivias love is having the power to control him more than anything else. Love is displayed as having stronger power than the strong power of nature. The news brought to him by another servant: Valentine is displeasing. Duke is informed of Olivias state that she is mourning the death of her brother. The fact that she will be mourning her brother for a long time implies to Duke that love is out for her. Duke also can point out that Olivia is also so much in love, although she channels it away from him. The move to direct her love elsewhere does not frustrate him. Instead, Dukes love is still hopeful because he still feels that love will awaken in Olivia some time.
In this scene The Duke is portrayed taking an ample time, walking around his palace while being in love, he is doing nothing but being in love. The image created is illustrated the Dukes manifestation of love in its presence and intensity. Also, though it would be logical to term the Duke as being in love with loving his speeches at the beginning of the scene justifies that he is in romantic love with an object i.e. Olivia who is a person he knows. He looks forward to being with her and is depressed by the news of her brothers death, which makes the implication that she will be away for a long time to mourn.
From the three scenes analyzed in this paper, it is clear that Shakespeare develops the theme of romantic love with attention. The three Plays: The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and the Twelfth Night bring out the theme of romantic love as well defined, with a significant role in the development of the play. In Much Ado About, Nothing love takes different forms. Despite the various conceptions of the love, eventually, it is the power of love that directs an amazing course and therefore major changes in the play. Similarly, love is given more power than nature in the Twelfth Night. It is also considered as enough work for The Duke to be walking around in the palace doing nothing more but just being in love. Love is valued as worthy of respect and a failure to make the victim deserving death as seen when Heros fainting is seen as deserving of her death due to the shame she has caused.
Green, Lawrence. Much Ado About Nothing. Nelson Thornes, 2004.
Much Ado About Nothing. Harold Bloom, Michael G. Cornelius: Infobase Publishing, 2010.
Ray, Ratri. William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Atlantic Publishers & Dist, 2007.
Ray, Ratri. William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Atlantic Publishers & Dist, 2006.
Shakespeare, William, Burton Raffel, and Harold Bloom. The Tempest. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
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