O Romeo, Romeo,
wherefore art thou Romeo?
The literal definition of love is a feeling of deep affection. The types of love in the world are endless, empathetic maternal, quiet desperation, platonic warmth.
Love, like most else, has a humble beginning. As the caveman’s club hit the back of the cavewoman’s head, their love bloomed. Then as she was dragged by her hair to his dungeon, the attraction grew. It takes two to tango, but what’s the harm if one is unconscious? Consent as a concept didn’t exist and the basic idea of affection was fornication, with a dead woman. Man has come a long way since his hunt to survive personality,
Deny thy father,
and refuse thy name.
It seems harmless, foolish, and musty, but it explains the essential human need to procreate. Reproduction slowly faded as a vital part of love.
Let’s skip a couple of generations, and enter the years in which romantic love was reborn. As we evolved, we replaced simple breeding with longing. Shakespeare reintroduced love in his numerous plays centered around desire and forbidden love. Lovers’ distance became a measure of their affection. We stopped considering multiplication as the only display of affection. The era of florists began, and it has remained since.
Or if thou wilt not,
be but sworn my love.
Shakespeare brought love to the masses. The masses were quick to adopt, adapt, and initiate. Love was fast becoming a topic of everyday discussion.
The common folk were made to believe love lay in marriage, love lay in an obedient wife, a dominating husband. Since it wasn’t unpopular to have multiple partners, love was diluted. Lust was easily mistaken for love. The desire to bed someone was followed by an urge to wed them, and finally, behead them. It came with lifelong resentment and competition.
And I’ll no longer,
be a Capulet.
Love existed for the sake of falling in love, and marriages were arranged as necessities rather than celebrations. Love and hatred were now in a relationship with each other.
The transition into commitment was quick. Ten wives reduced to one, in most cases at least. Humans began to get into one-way relationships with the sole purpose of spending their lives together. The idea of soulmates was popularised and people treated finding love as their utmost priority. The concept was shoved down their gullet to the extent that even love became forced.
‘Tis but thy name,
that is my enemy
Love had now essentially become sacrifice. Sacrificing your identity, sacrificing your dignity, sacrificing your liberty.
Homosexuality took the world by storm. Time saw them break the barriers of heteronormativity and establish a free community, simultaneously taking over a dying notion of love and still made the best of it. They weren’t fazed by the constant mockery, which simply became background noise to the acceptance and affection they felt. Just as ridiculed as an inter-caste couple in the past, they fought to rewrite the definition of love as between a man and a woman. There was a positive disruption that left the foundation of love shook.
Thou art thyself,
though not a Montague
Love is love is love. Love, which was in a state of equilibrium, fast became a revived conversation of sexuality, romanticism, and nature.
Around the same time, monogamy began creating problems for the human race. The still-developing brain couldn’t distinguish between love and sex. They were considered alike, and celibacy until marriage being an infamous act that proved the same. People went out of their relationships to find the affection they were looking for. The dissatisfaction they felt in these constraints were higher than the basic human instinct of loyalty.
It is nor hand nor foot
The underlying human hunger had finally resurfaced and with allegiance slowly fading into the background, it was almost like the human race evolved but at the same time, it didn’t.
Sexual exclusivity began to emerge as secondary to an emotional commitment. Open relationships and friends with benefits gained popularity and the old guard died out. We learned to put ourselves first. Traditional marriage rituals turned into live-in relationships. Where we stand today is the sanctity of personal content and mutual gratification.
Nor arm nor face,
nor any other part
Love is not a necessity; it is a luxury.