When you first consider Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the first thing to come to mind is, more often than not, the theme of love. This may well be the most commonly recognised aspect of the play, but it is far from being the most understood, or even explored, by the reader. However, with further consideration, it becomes more clear just how wide and complex the theme of love is in the play. .
People may well think of Romeo and Juliet to be "the greatest love story ever told", due to their rather vague knowledge of the passion shared by the two main lovers. However, this is perhaps quite far from the truth, as Shakespeare's inclusion and concept of love in the play is, at times, seen from a rather different angle. For example, the first reference to love, in the play, is shown through two serving-men of the Capulet house, Sampson and Gregory. Throughout this early part of Act I Scene I, the two servants" coarse humour in conversation, and their vulgar and crude opinions on what they see as love, bring an instant impression at the start of the play. Both men have a very narrow-minded view of love, involving very little emotion, and only a view of both physical and sexual attraction. This is shown by Sampson's opinion of women as "weaker vessels" and also his remarks of how he will rape the maids of the Montague household. ""Tis true, and therefore women being the weaker vessels are ever thrust to the wall. Therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall." This very first aspect of love, which we can see as sexual love, immediately brings extra depth to the play and, in particular, the main theme of love and relationships.
The most common, and therefore perhaps important, perception of love in the play is, without doubt, that of romantic or true love. Obviously, this is the form of this emotion shown by the two main lovers, Romeo and Juliet. However, it could also be argued that the relationship begins as one of sexual attraction on Romeo's behalf, which is first seen at Capulet's ball.