VI. Conclusion : analysis of Romeo and Juliet based on Eros and Thanatos
Until now, we examined Shakespeare’s play, its archetypes and various adaptations chronologically. And at the same time, we understood that the main theme of Romeo and Juliet is Love and Death, which were interpreted as Eros and Thanatos by psychoanalyst Freud.
( "Kiss" made by Antonio Canova )
Eros and Thanatos, who are two Greek gods, form an opposite couple. According to the Freudian psychoanalysis, man has an innate tendency for aggression and for destruction. It’s the instinct of death, Thanatos. This instinct is distinct from that of life, Eros, which is an energetic manifestation. But the opposition between the two instincts is only superficial. In fact, they have something in common, tending toward excitability, and in addition, Thanatos shows itself better in relation to the pleasure, for example, the sadism, the masochism and the suicide.
Above all, concerning the suicide, which brings about the tragedy of two heroes in Romeo and Juliet, Thanatos is expressed for the absence of the pain and for the pleasure without pain. In other words, like Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s drama, Antony and Cleopatra in Roman history, Tristan and Iseult in the medieval legend, the suicide removes the pain of deep sadness caused by the death of lover.
("Suicide" painted by Edouard Manet )
As stated above, Eros and Thanatos, that is, Love and Death are closely connected each other. And now we understand that their art, including their literature, makes these two concepts its central themes because they are two capital taboos of humanity. Therefore, not because of its romanticism, but because of its taboo, our contemporaries are probably attracted by the love like Romeo and Juliet.