Chapter

The Amorous Death of Romeo and Juliet

Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross

in Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger

Second edition

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780198072560
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082124 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198072560.003.0002
The Amorous Death of Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a classic verging on a latter-day myth. The story of the star-crossed young lovers, whose purity of feeling and spirit were betrayed by cruel fate and misguided relatives, is seen as an archetype of passion laid low by petty vanity masquerading as kinship honour. This chapter argues that Romeo and Juliet is neither about innocence (betrayed) nor about the romantic absorption and tenderness of young love, as depicted in the Western cultural tradition. Rather, the play has as its theme a singular aspect of erotic union: its savagery when denied. It also shows the violence inherent in the frustrated femininity of men and of their carnivorousness once they taste a woman's beauty and are then prevented from experiencing it again.

Keywords: Romeo and Juliet; William Shakespeare; passion; kinship honour; love; erotic union; violence

Chapter.  10269 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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