Read almost any book and you’ll find a love story. It might not be at the forefront of the story’s goings-on, but it’s usually there. Characters fall in (and out) of love quickly and slowly, romantically or strangely. Many famous romances have held our hearts for many years, bringing to us stories of love at first sight, tragic love, tests of love’s strength, deceptive love, forbidden love, and more.
Perhaps the most famous of all is Romeo and Juliet, the tragic, desperate, devoted, star-crossed, lustful love that made many of us melt at the romance and throw the book across the room at its tragic ending. Romeo and Juliet showed us that instant, impulsive teenage love, the kind that feels incredibly powerful—even after just a few days. It might be a bit dramatic, but the story has stayed relevant for centuries as we continue to pursue forbidden and reckless relationships.
Elizabeth’s and Mr. Darcy’s story took a bit longer to unfold than Romeo and Juliet. Pride and Prejudice teaches us that we’ve got to get ourselves straight before any kind of relationship will even begin to work. Neither Elizabeth nor Mr. Darcy are perfect by any means (before or after their story), but their love only really begins to blossom once they’ve begun working out their own issues. They don’t force each other to change—they do so in their own time.
Of course, when you’re talking about love stories, Buttercup and Westley from The Princess Bride have got to get a spot. Their love is an enduring one, despite the many seemingly impossible obstacles that arose. Buttercup loves Westley so much that she would do anything to save his life—even marry a horrible prince. On the other hand, Westley would persevere over any challenge and endure any amount of pain just to be with her. It’s a fairy tale, yes, but it’s one that gives us the hope and promise that there really is love like that out there.
Love unrequited is a painful thing to endure. You can’t make someone love you—but that doesn’t stop people from trying. The Great Gatsby demonstrates this with the story of Gatsby, who did anything and everything necessary to get to the top of society—where he could be with Daisy. He was obsessed with her, and she did return at least some feelings of affection—but not enough to make it last.
What are some other famous or memorable love stories from literature? Have you learned anything from famous love stories like these?