Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet are forced to show their love for others. When Romeo marries Juliet, he is forced to show love and respect for Tybalt. But when Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo's genuine love for Mercutio overshadows his love out of duty, and Romeo kills Tybalt, which leads to his banishment. Romeo kills himself when he cannot be with the woman he loves, proving that love is a much stronger emotion than hate. Shakespeare shows us that the two passions of love and hate are similar. Typically thought of as opposite emotions, in Romeo & Juliet, they are two sides of the same coin. Our young lovers turn their families' hatred for each other into insatiable passion. Passionate love is defined as: "A state of intense longing for union with another. Reciprocated love (union with the other) is associated with fulfillment and ecstasy. Unrequited love (separation) with emptiness; with anxiety or despair. A state of intense physiological arousal." (Hatfield and Sprecher 383). .
Passionate love is experienced most intensely during adolescence. (Hatfield and Sprecher 383). Juliet is 13 years old, nearly 14; Romeo's age is not given in the play, but I've always pegged him to be between 16 and 18. He was young enough to be referred to as "young Romeo," but old enough to acquire the skill with a sword to best both Tybalt and Paris. For the sake of argument, he still falls within the age range of adolescence, which is the period of time beginning at about 12 to 13 years old and ending around 21 to 22. (Hatfield and Sprecher 383). When the play begins, Romeo believes himself to be in love with Rosaline, but nobody else really seems to think he is. In Act 2, Scene 3, Friar Laurence states as much: "Romeo: Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline. Friar Laurence: For doting, not for loving, pupil mine." (Shakespeare 743).