The Poison as a Symbol of Love in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare is a tragic play about Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, who fall in love with each other, but discover that they are meant to be enemies. This state between the families results in the death of these lovers, ironically ending the fetid between the two households Poison is present in several scenes of the play, such as Juliet taking the mixture to escape her marriage and Romeo requesting for a vital to end his life.

The symbol of poison is a powerful representation of how Romeo and Juliet’s love transcends both the feud between the Capulets and Montagues and death itself. Poison is significant to the play because it is the instrument of Romeo and Juliet‘s death Romeo buys poison from an apothecary, begging for death once he learns of Juliet’s death.

When Romeo states, “Come, bitter poison, comer“ Here’s to my love!” he is consuming the poison to be with Juliet, Romeo and Juliet have a very strong bond; thus they would do anything to be together.

Once Juliet takes the sleeping potion, things take a turn for the worst. The act of death that Juliet plays results in confusion that causes Romeo to due, which in turn causes Juliet’s death once she learns about his death. Juliet took the sleeping potion to avoid marriage, but it caused Romeo to buy poison for instant death. The poison brought about death to the couple and the cause for their double suicide.

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In the end, Romeo and Juliet are doomed to death by fate, and poison is the method for an instant death that Romeo chooses Poison impacts the characters by causing death, which results in devastating yet peaceful effects.

The poison is the cause to the double suicide Romeo could not bear to lose Juliet and vice versa. The effect of the couple’s death is peace between the Capulets and Montagues as “They were poor sacrifices of [two houses] rivalry!” The poison brings light to the relationship of Romeo and Juliet, which surprises the families. The poison represents the feud between the Montagues and Capulets and how it turns Romeo and Juliet’s love into something deadly. The rivalry between the two families ends through a loss of what they love most: their children. The symbol relates to life and describes that “In man as weak as herbs—grace and rude will” and therefore have two personalities or sides to them, like herbs. Friar Lawrence describes how herbs are either healing and or poisonous, Similarly, humans can be wonderful or dreadful.

Romeo, for example, “slays all sense with the heart” and decides to commit suicide, Friar Lawrence’s lines speak directly to the play’s tragedy about how Romeo and Juliet’s love becomes deadly when poisoned by the hateful feud between the Capulets and Montagues. Furthermore, healing with the tragedy appears at the end, as the death of the couple results in the end of the family feud. The poison and sleeping potion are neither evil nor good; they’re made lethal by human hands. Thus, when Romeo and Juliet are given poison, the result is a tragedy in the end, poison is a symbol that is neither good nor evil, Poison is lethal in the hands of humans, which Romeo took upon the deadly side Romeo‘s use of the poison given to him proves that poison can be positive or negative. In this case it is used to end his and Juliet’s life and stops the family feuding. Poison is the core symbol of this play and represents how society could turn something good, such as love, to something dreadful and deadly.

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The Poison as a Symbol of Love in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. (2023, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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