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What is the essence of life but the constant grapple for clarity? Among these countless inquiries, “What is love?” is but the most sought-after.

Life is filled with countless questions people seek to uncover throughout their lives. If its essence is to be captured in one sentiment, it would be found in people’s continuous attempts at unraveling its complexities. Finding satisfaction in knowing fuels their daily steps and motivation to continue treading through life’s unpredictability. For what is it but a journey of finding meaning?

Life is a puzzle that people can’t help but discover the core, gradually disentangling its intricacies to awe at the wonders it offers. But, whether it’s fortunate or unfortunate, this puzzle is built upon multiple pieces waiting to be constructed into a whole. Among these, the question, “What is love?” poses the most intrigue. It can be perceived as the center of everything, the solid foundation giving people purpose and allowing them to be in tune with themselves.

What is love but the single emotion the world and everything that thrives in it revolves around?

Why Has Love Continued to Fascinate the Humankind?

Raymond Quattlebaum in reflection on love posits that emotion is the most powerful in the universe. It’s a breathtaking experience that most arguably craves to encounter even once.

“Love makes the world go round.”

This is one of the plethora of popularized thoughts about this emotion. Love has permeated people’s minds for decades, reeling them with the desire to experience it and understand why they’re pulled to devote their lives to it. Love is vague as much as it’s a collective experience. It’s powerful yet complex, involving changes in people’s lives physically, situationally, and even in their body chemistry.

Indeed, it’s magical. But when people ask, “What is love?” most get perplexed in seizing its meaning. Love is indefinite in that no two people will ever share the same experience, not even individuals supposedly sharing two sides.

Nobody can truly capture its essence. Hence, humankind has continued to maximize art to encompass its splendor. People are romantic by nature, and one who has banked on this innate gift throughout his life is Shakespeare.

What Is Love as Written by Shakespeare?

Everybody knows who Shakespeare is. Whether it’s to complete academic requirements or purely out of personal interest, most have probably dabbled in Shakespearean art. The man is perhaps one of the most romantic individuals ever graced the world, and this manifests in his poetry.

Throughout his career, the word “love” has appeared over 2,146 times across his works. This reflects how recurrent the theme is and how gripped the man is by it. He dabbled in its intricacies, exploring its nature beyond the romantic and touching on its platonic, familial, and even internal equivalents. In his works, Shakespeare has defined love as an unbending devotion between people or from one individual to those special to them.

However, while he has primarily painted it unbending, Shakespeare has never failed to capture its imperfect condition. When asked, “What is love?” Shakespeare can seize its essence in as many sonnets and verses as possible. Ultimately, he summarizes it as an overwhelming force that should triumph over the physical world, reason, and time. Yet, this doesn’t mean that love cancels any obstacles and challenges. It merely posits that, in its genuine essence, it’s bound to overcome everything.

Indeed, Raymond Quattlebaum has hit the nail on the head.

Love is an ever-powerful emotion, but only when authentic and genuine.

“So long lives this… this gives life to thee.”

Shakespeare has dealt with love with utmost comprehensiveness and through a general perspective. While presenting it as an emotion that may be at the center of everything, the writer has never mentioned it as fundamentally perfect and never mistaken. Instead, it’s defined similarly as strength, which has its fair share of ups and downs. Individuals who exhibit strength may also have moments of weakness, where their power falters, and they’re left vulnerable.

Such is also the situation with love.

Nobody expects it always to be passionate and filled with eagerness. It also has its calm moments of confusion and impediments. But it’s up to the individuals carrying it to push through these obstacles and hone a love that withstands anything thrown at it. Love may not be perfect, as much as nobody experiences it. But everyone has a choice, and it’s up to them whether they bend it.

With Shakespeare’s influence, when people think of love, they think of the force that allows people to do the unimaginable. Like Romeo and Juliet, who gathered the strength to go against their families and even meet death for as long as they hold each other.

So, what is love in its untamed and fundamental concept?

Love is beauty. It’s a force to be reckoned with, as it should be strong enough to overcome anything with the devotion of the individuals carrying it. Love is an emotion. Hence, its power may never truly be defined and merely depends on those experiencing it.

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