Saturday, March 23, 2019 | ePaper

Shakespeare on love and marriage

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Marriage is considered as a sacred and universal bond between man and woman. It is an institution as old as human civilization, which has been increasingly glorifying with the passage of time. It is really difficult to find any love in Shakespeare’

Md Ekramullahil Kafi :
illiam Shakespeare, the greatest English poet and dramatist of the Sixteenth century, had a clear and unambiguous view about marriage. He could not think of any illicit love between a man and a woman, whatever kind it might be. So far we have studied Shakespeare; we never saw him deviating from his fundamental belief about love and marriage. He regards marriage as the natural end and fulfillment of love between man and woman. Love outside marriage is disastrous. He believes that love is never fulfilled without marriage.
Marriage is considered as a sacred and universal bond between man and woman. It is an institution as old as human civilization, which has been increasingly glorifying with the passage of time. It is really difficult to find any love in Shakespeare’s play which was not followed by marriage. We don't even see any love to prolong without marriage. In this case, He is normally sane, conventional almost, in his instincts, differing thereby from the smart dramatists of his own day, or of Restoration, or of modem Broadway. He was 'so strict in his attitude and principle on marriage that he never allowed his lovers to come to too close contact with one another before their marriage. Many examples of this may be cited.
As for example, we can say about the love of Romeo and Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet), Othello and Desdemona (in Othello), Pericles and Thaisa (in Pericles, Princes of Tyre), Basanio and Portia as well as Gratiano and Nerisha (in Merchant of Venice). Examples of this kind are too many. Anymore example will imply lengthen our list only. The love of all these couples was followed by marriage, a sacred bond. No sexual activities were marked between the lovers in his plays. In Romeo and Juliet, one of his great stories of youth overwhelmed by elemental irresistible, passionate love, hero and the heroine marry before they mate. And in his winter’s Tale and The Tempest-Florizel and Perdita, Ferdinand and Miranda, pairs of lovers whom Shakespeare abundantly blessed, had the nicest regard for the sanctity of marriage.
He is never found to depict any picture of copulation even between villains, the best example of which is one between Gertrude, (the queen of Denmark and the mother of Hamlet, the prince of Denmark) and Claudius (the paternal uncle and the murderer of the father of Hamlet). He might have depicted a picture of illicit love between them, but he did not. In his attitude Shakespeare differs noticeably from his contemporaries. Beaumont and Fletcher and others play with themes of love outside marriage and regard infidelity as a natural topic for comedy. Shakespeare does not. He found nothing comic in unfaithfulness and unchastely, which always bring disaster. Shakespeare very skillfully showed us in his plays, how mere suspicion, not infidelity at all, brought disaster upon hero and heroine. Desdemona in Othello is its best example.
We have noticed throughout his plays that Shakespeare accepted the normal morality, not because of the society but because his taste and instincts dictated him that moral customs are founded on that system of conduct, which has been found to work best.
If a man’s works tell of his self, then we can have an idea of Shakespeare's moral character and the depth of his personality from his plays and this is where also his greatness lies. He is a man, a poet, and a dramatist of greatest estimation.  We still try to discover him with newer attempts. And, there is no doubt, this process shall continue for many more centuries to corme.

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