Friday, May 14, 2010

Those Wacky, Star-Crossed Lovers ...

In scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo - that impetuous boy and star-crossed lover - introduces himself to Juliet by saying
'Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear, That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops ...'
At that point, however, he is cut off in his love diatribe by a much more mature, much wiser Juliet when she says:
'O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.'
Romeo, probably a little disconcerted that his one true love has doused the flame of his poetic praise, nevertheless listens to her wise counsel and asks,
'What shall I swear by?'
To this, Juliet calmly responds:
'Do not swear at all; Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self . . . And I'll believe thee.'
After thinking about Juliet's musings this morning, I realized that in many ways, she is simply saying that a love that is true love does not need any vain affirmations. When we feel an incredible depth of feeling for another human being, one which may be described in the Greek as Agape -
the love that brings forth caring regardless of circumstance, we do not need to make any protestations through words or swear by any fickle and failing objects (celestial orb or otherwise) ... instead, we simply must let the love we feel grow and expand through whatever storm may come and through whatever obstacle we may encounter. Regardless of the circumstance, that kind of love will remain.

Not bad for a teenager destined to kill herself in the most unnecessarily tragic of Shakespearean suicides.