Tragic Love Themes in English Literature

Authors Nicholas Spark and William Shakespeare both include themes of drama, tragedy and sacrifice in their love story in English literary tradition. Nicholas is a love story teller who expresses love by sacrificing a person’s true love, while the English poet William seeks tragedy in the end of his stories. The American novelist uses the word “love” as a real life scenario. The result was his 1996 novel The Notebook, which Sparks based on the romance between his wife’s maternal grandparents.

  In Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 romantic novel, The Notebook which later became a motion picture in 2004 about a story of two young couple falling in love.

Spark’s grandparents were his inspiration for this love novel and clearly the theme is following your heart even if parents do not approve, just as long as happiness will be long term within sickness or poor. A rich girl named Allie is in town for the summer and meets a young poor boy name Noah.

They both fell in love during the summer, their parents thought it was only a summer romance and let it pass by. Once summer was over the wealthy parents of Allie disapproved the ongoing relationship and were forbidden to see each other. Noah was happy with Allie, but did not meet the high standards of Allie’s lavish lifestyle. Sparks wants the audience to know the importance of true love and how love conquers all. For example, “I don’t know, Allie. That’s up to you. But I would think about it.

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Think about what you really want. Follow your heart.”

Sparks use allegory and symbols that expresses love in the book. The symbol that he uses are letters, canoe, her mother, the house and of course the notebook. They have double meaning and these symbols are what made love comeback into their lives. Allie and Noah sacrificed to be together and grow old together. Allie is then diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease, and each day Noah read to her from his notebook of tales of their own love story hoping her memory can come back. Sparks uses paradox in the following example; Noah thinks that “silence is pure and holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can speak without speaking.”  Sparks describes Noah’s comfort level of he and Allie can maintain despite her illness. The culture and beliefs of having a rich lavish lifestyle make readers believe they cannot blend with the poor.

Love is love is what people might say, but cultures wise if the poor do not fit in, then the poor are forced out. William Shakespeare’s Romero and Juliet’s tragic love story ends horrifically, where two young teenagers fall in love but are forbidden to be with each other. Shakespeare’s Juliet and Romeo is a tragedy so there must be a tragic hero. Therefore, Romeo is the tragic hero. In the city of Verona The Montagues is a rich family as well as the Capulets. Romeo is already in love a women name Rosaline, in which Romeo does not mention anything about her as a person, but rather her appearance. He then goes to the Capulet’s party in disguise and sees Juliet and to Romeo it was love at first sight.

Shakespeare uses imagery to show Juliet is like a dove walking amongst crows. It symbolizes Juliet of being innocent and peace and how Juliet lights up the room. When confronting each other Romeo uses metaphors to convince Juliet to kiss him. Their relationship faces conflict from the family feud ( Tybalt and Mercutio) , but now also a conflict with religion. Masculinity, during Shakespeare’s time had two different and opposing sides. Men could either choose to be violent on behalf of their father and family name or choose self- control and probably a woman to love. For example, Mercutio was killed by Tybalt and dies defending Romeo’s honor and when Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt and defend his family name because of his love for Juliet. Tybalt also dies defending the family name. Juliet fakes her own death by taking drugs temporarily to be only with Romeo and in this case Romeo assumes her passing is real.

Romeo is stuck by her beauty and the way death looks on Juliet. “Why art thou, yet so fair? Shall I believe/ that unsubstantial death is so amorous?” He continues to ask himself questions and is confused. Shakespeare expresses dramatic irony and advises the audience to be aware that Juliet is slowly recovering and awaking from the drugs. He believes in true love and even in death forces him to press onward with his own suicide by drinking poison from a vial just as about to be awakened. When Juliet awakens she’s realizes he had committed suicide for her and therefore she stabs herself with his dagger. Shakespeare’s themes include love vs. lust and hate vs. love causing two cross lovers in a tragic death.

The Renaissance period (English), William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet’s love story is similar to The Notebook of families disapproving love. Shakespeare’s beliefs about love end in betrayals, sacrificing and tragedy. Juliet’s family had marriage arrangements for her and Romeo was never intended to be in her life due to being enemies with his family. The play is filled with contrast like these: Tragedy mixes with comedy, love with hate and death with life. Both authors have quite the same similarities, but different attitudes and aspects of love. The love stories both sacrifice to be together, but different endings. William Shakespeare’s love story is influenced with tragedy and Spark’s end with a happily ever after story.

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Tragic Love Themes in English Literature. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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