Freud argued that human love was propelled by two opposing drives: eros, the desire for love, and thanatos, the desire for death. But centuries before Freud, Romeo and Juliet provided a very different view of the relationship between love and death. Despite – or perhaps because of – the passion and joy of the play's young lovers, death is never far in the background of Romeo and Juliet. Because their families have been feuding for as long as anyone can remember, they believe their "forbidden" relationship puts them in constant danger. Consequently, the seeming threat of death adds a spark of excitement to their secret meetings. Shakespeare links death and sex throughout the play and, to some degree, portrays suicide as an erotic act that both consummates the lovers' passion and (re)unites them in death.
The passions of love and hate that prevail in the play doom all those who are passionate to an early death.
Romeo and Juliet's love is so over-powering that death, not sex, is the only way they can fully consummate their relationship.