How Does Virtue Sacrifice In Romeo And Juliet?

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“‘Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all,” (Lord Tennyson, “Canto 27). Can one really say that loving and losing is better than never feeling that love, when both choices are riddled with error? The following stories referenced, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, “Pyramus and Thisbe” retold by Ovid, and “Duty” by Pamela Rafael Berkman, show the contrast between sacrificing love and sacrificing life. Romeo and Juliet, as well as Pyramus and Thisbe, sacrificed everything for love. Lady Capulet, on the other hand, sacrificed her love for the obligations she felt she had to her family. Neither resulted in the long-standing happiness, so who made the right choice? The star-crossed lovers, whose death brought them…show more content…
The short story “Duty” tells readers what happened with Lady Capulet, both before and after Romeo and Juliet. In “Duty”, Lady Capulet’s monologue reveals that she was in love with a young Lord Montague, and he loved her as well. Young Lady Capulet, not yet a lady or a Capulet, had a choice quite similar to her daughter’s: love or duty. Unlike her daughter, Lady Capulet chose her duty to her family and to being obedient. Lady Capulet told her love “no” and married a man who she neither loved nor liked at all. This led to her being bitter and miserable. “I turn accusing upon my husband, old Lord Capulet. His nose so long, his hair so thin and falling about his ears… his legs are scrawny and goatlike, though his stomach bulges.” (“Duty”, lines 123-127). The language used here shows how bitter she is about marrying a hideous man, instead of the “handsome, broad-chested Montague.” One can note that Lady Capulet never says a positive word about the man that she married, yet speaks more highly of the father of the man her daughter married. A reader might find it interesting how paralleled Juliet and her mother are. Had Lady Capulet chosen love, she could have been dead like Juliet. Had Juliet chosen duty, she could have ended up in her mother’s shoes, married to a man that she doesn’t like or…show more content…
Death, with a night of bliss, or a miserable but powerful and wealthy life? The answer depends on a person’s perspective. Someone as grounded as Lady Capulet would choose duty, power, and money over love, while someone as hopelessly romantic as Romeo would willingly die for their supposed love. However, Romeo and Juliet did not know each other. Pyramus and Thisbe exemplify love and sacrifice far better. These two carried on a forbidden friendship turned love since childhood, sneaking about and talking where none can hear. Those two risked much, much more than Romeo and Juliet with far less help. No matter how much or how little help the lovers had, nor how much or how little risks they took, both sets of star-crossed lovers wound up dead. Lady Capulet, at least, is still alive. She is the only one who acted selflessly and she lived to tell the tale of her woes, because she acted selflessly. Romeo, Juliet, Pyramus, and Thisbe had no time to tell their tales. One could take either as a warning: act selfishly, and one will hurt others; or act selflessly, and one will hurt oneself. Neither results in a happy
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