As so thou wilt have it so”(3.5.17-18).

As seen through the behaviors of Romeo and Mercutio, Shakespeare seems to believe that love can motivate people to disregard their own life.    Romeo’s behavior holds clear examples of how Shakespeare seems to believe that love can motivate people to disregard their own life. This behavior occurs several times throughout the play, and is extremely prominent. This first happens when Romeo and Juliet have just met and fallen in love, and Romeo makes the reckless decision to go visit Juliet. When she scolds him about how coming to visit her risks his life, he responds with, “Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye / Than twenty of their swords”(Shakespeare 2.1.76-77). Romeo just completely dismisses the danger of death, and he met Juliet mere hours ago. He is so madly in love with her that death does not bother him. Not caring about survival is somewhat unhealthy, and this is the first in a series of choices that seriously question how much Romeo cares about his life. However, this careless behavior concerning Romeo’s life is not just a singular occurrence. Later in the play, Romeo has been banished, and yet he still comes to visit Juliet on their wedding night, which is a rather dangerous choice. When Juliet wishes for him to stay longer at the risk of death, he replies with, “Let me ta’en; let me be put to death. / I am content, so thou wilt have it so”(3.5.17-18). Once again, Romeo is willing to sacrifice himself for just a few fleeting moments of love. Juliet thankfully comes to her senses and makes him leave, but he has no intention of leaving when she wants him to stay. Romeo is so in love that he is losing the will to survive, and this kind of disregard for his life will not even cause him to save or help anyone else. Clearly, the way that Romeo behaves about his life is proof that Shakespeare seems to believe that love can motivate him to disregard it.    Mercutio’s behavior is rather different from Romeo’s, but it also provides some insight into how Shakespeare seems to believe that love can motivate people to disregard their own life. Mercutio’s behavior becomes more prominent after Romeo’s, but it is still clear. When Mercutio and Benvolio hear about how Tybalt has challenged Romeo to a duel, Benvolio says that Romeo will accept the challenge. Mercutio immediately responds with, “Any man that can write may answer a letter”(2.4.11). Mercutio has a family and friendship style of love for Romeo, so he is obviously protective of him. The implication that Mercutio would risk his own life in a fight instead of letting Romeo risk his life displays the love Mercutio has for him. He allows this protective love to control him, and to disregard his life over Romeo’s. This protective love over Romeo and the Montagues occurs again in the play. This time, Mercutio and Benvolio are feeling tense as they see the Capulets approach. When Tybalt asks to speak with one of them, Mercutio replies with, “And but one word with one of us? Couple it / With something. Make it a word and a blow”(3.1.40-41). Mercutio just immediately jumps towards the option of fighting to protect his family and friends, which has a risk of ending in death. He can choose to act civil towards Tybalt, but his love drives him straight to violence. These careless decisions about his life are not smart, but are caused by him acting out of love and emotions. The way that Mercutio, along with Romeo, behave in disregard to their own lives explains how Shakespeare seems to believe that love will motivate someone to do this.