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Modeling the Love Affair of Romeo and Juliet

Jonathan DeVries

25 April, 2011
Introduction: This paper outlines the process used to create a mathematical model of

the love affair between two characters from classical literature: Romeo Montague and

Juliet Capulet. They are traditionally known as the ultimate example of two “star-crossed

lovers.” In the classic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” written by William Shakespeare,

Romeo and Juliet meet at a party, and within a single night become infatuated with each

other, and ultimately get married. Just a day earlier, however, Romeo was pining over his

lost “love,” Rosaline. Five days, several deaths, and an exile later, Romeo and Juliet

commit suicide, over their love for each other. This paper explores the

Background: Romeo and Juliet are in love. Romeo is a fickle lover. He begins to dislike

her when she loves him more and more. When Juliet loses interest in him his feelings then

start warming up and his love for Juliet increases. Juliet’s love, on the other hand, grows

when he loves her and tends to decrease when he hates her. We give 2 models for their

ill-fated love relationship. R(t)= Romeo’s love/hate for Juliet at any time t, J(t)= Juliet’s

love/hate for Romeo at any time t. Positive R or J means love, negative R or J means hate

and R=J=0 means indifference. Let’s measure time t in days (0-365) days. Love will be

measured in the scale of -10 to 10, love at scale 0 being indifference.

State of Hatre disgu indifferenc Sweet Ecstatic love Over

Love d st e attraction affectionate

Value of -10 -7.5 0 7.5 10 >10

Figure 1, table of feelings corresponding to values of each function.

When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time,(t=0), he is immediately attracted to her, say,

R(0)= 5. Juliet is indifferent at that time, R(0)=0.

Procedure: The author started with systems of differential equations for each model

which represented their relative feelings Romeo and Juliet had for each other; and the
changes in those feelings due to the changes of feelings in the other. Initial values were

chosen, based on the fact that Romeo is the first to become infatuated. Using the initial

equations and initial conditions, a solution to each differential equation system was

produced. This solution was then plotted, using Maple 11, to show the fluctuations in

their emotions for each other. Then, the coeffecients of each eqution in the system were

translated to a matrix, and the Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors for each system's

corresponding matrix were computed. Using the Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, a phase

plot of each model was produced, in order to show the overall general behavior of their

relationship. Please note that each function's plot was restricted to one fifth of a year, or

73 days, to make each plot easier to read. This did not leave out any data; the plot for

model one repeats itself roughly every 73 days.

Model 1: The system , with initial values ,

represents a love affair between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. As the system

suggests, Romeo's love decreases in proportion to Juliet's love, and Juliet's love increases

in proportion to Romeo's love.

Solving this model using the given inital conditions, gives the equations: J(t) = 10sin(t)

and R(t) = 5cos(t). Using the matrix method, the matrix of this system produces

Eigenvalues of 0 and -0.5 for R(t) and J(t), respectively.

The Eigenvectors produced were :

Results: The plot of each function in figure two shows the sporadicity of their

relationship (blue represents Romeo, and pink represents Juliet).

Figure 2: Plot of the solutions to the differential equation system in model 1.

It would appear that Romeo never loves Juliet as much as Juliet loves Romeo. Also, it

seems that roughly every five days, Romeo's love goes from near disgust to near

attraction, back to near disgust. Therefore, Romeo never loves Juliet. However, within a

period of five days, offset by a few days from Romeo's cycle, Juliet goes from complete

hatred to ecstatic love, then back to hatred again. The only time that their love for each

other is equal is every 2.5 days, their love for each other is around negative or positive

4.8, which corresponds to near disgust to near attraction, respectively. This does not

seem like a healthy relationship.

The cyclical nature of their relationship can be represented by the phase plot in figure 3.
Figure 3: phase plot showing the cyclical nature of Romeo and Juliet's love


It should be noted how the solutions are constantly spiking. This represents how fickle

their relationship is: Juliet is constantly either loving or hating Romeo.

Model 2:

Because of Juliet's bipolar nature, her doctor has prescribed her tranquilizers. This

changes the system to the following system:

Solving this system gives the following equations:

This system has eigenvalues of -2 for both equatoins. The eigen vectors are:

Results: The plot in figure 4 is produced, again with blue representing Romeo and pink

representing Juliet.
Figure 4. Plot of Romeo and Juliet's relationship, with tranquilizers.

With the tranquilizers, Juliet will begin with only a mild attraction to Romeo. Romeo will

notice that Juliet is taking tranqulizers, which will turn him off, and as such, he will be

mostly indifferent. Once Juliet sees this, her feelings for Romeo sharply decline, and after

about a week, neither of them are interested in each other. The nature of their

relationship can be better interpreted by the following phase plot.

Figure 5. Phase plot of Romeo and Juliet's relationship with tranquilizers.

You will notice that all paths lead back to indifference. Their relationship is futile, and
there is no hope for them lasting forever.

Conclusion: The results in model 1 show a very dysfunctional relationship. Their love for

each other constantly waxes and wanes. This model, however, is not very accurate when

taking the original story of Romeo and Juliet into account: After five days, they were both

so in love with each other, that they committed suicied over one another. The model,

however, shows an indifference experienced between each other after the first five days

of the relationship.

Model two also seems to not convey the same love that they, according to the story, felt

for each other after five days. However, according to this model, their relationship would

certainly not have lasted more than a week. Perhaps it is best that they commited

suicide. If they had not, their love would have grown dull, and they would not have liked

each other anymore. As a result, we would not have the story of Romeo and Juliet as we

know it; we would have a story about a summer fling which probably went longer than it

should have.