This was my second read through of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet since my 9th grade English class, and personally there were distinctive situations and themes that surpassed the usually teaching of love and free will that a 9th grade class would be discussing. Because of the maturity level that is expanded upon from the young adult mindset and classroom decorum into the perspective that has evolved over the years, Romeo and Juliet becomes much more evocative and eroticized through hyper-sexualized characters. The sexual ambiance of the characters Romeo and Juliet overpowers the emotional attraction that love is supposed to possess.
Sexuality overpowers the idea of love through Romeo’s superficial feelings for Rosaline and Juliet—“beloved and loved again” (2.0.5) the chorus exclaims—and within an instant the feelings are transferred from one girl to another. The depth of love that Romeo has for these women cannot be more than skin-deep, especially when Romeo specifies that he’d “ne’er saw true beauty till” the moment he laid eyes on Juliet (1.5.52). Such an exclamation about beauty does not constitute true love but more towards sexual love or even lust in regards to the duration of the two “lover’s” journey with each other. Rather, the swiftness of Romeo’s rebound towards Juliet marks the first red line regarding the truth of their love. Shakespeare
From then on out in the play, the mentioning of consummation between Romeo and Juliet, with help from Nurse is highly regarded upon the young couple. The Nurse, whom practically raised Juliet since she was a baby, practically the motherly figure of her life, assists the couple in the plan for consummating the marriage:
There stays a husband to make you a wife.
Now comes the wanton blood up in your cheeks.
They’ll be scarlet straight at any news.
. . . I must another way,
To fetch a ladder by the which your love
Must climb a bird’s nest soon, when it is dark
. . . but you shall bear the burden soon at night (2.4.69-76)
The blood becomes the symbol for more than family and death in this scene; it becomes the essence of Juliet’s virginity. The “ladder”, the “bird’s nest”, and “the burden” becomes the physicality of their relationship, the physical act becomes the only way the two lovers can officially be married. The obsession with consummating becomes the overpowering nature of the relationship of Romeo and Juliet. The hyper-sexualized stupor that Juliet finds herself in, with Romeo as her first love as a thirteen-year-old girl, melodramatically assess Romeo’s banishment from Verona: “Come, cords; come Nurse; I’ll to my wedding bed / And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead” (3.2.136-37). The sickening imagery of rot and ruin physically destroying her body to the point of her losing her virginity, to consummating her marriage to death rather than living her life with another human being, is the extent to which having sex is the necessity for Juliet to be happy in her relationship with Romeo. Without him physically able to consummate their marriage, making the doctrine legal in not only the eyes of God, but by the standards of society back then, there is nothing more to life for the two young lovers of this lamentable tragedy.