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Most Beautiful Love Stories From The History That Ended In Tragedy

Updated on August 17, 2017

Pyramus and Thisbe

The love story of Pyramus and Thisbe is extremely heart wrenching.

Pyramus and Thisbe were childhood friends who lived in neighboring houses. Their love for each other grew with time. When their parents forbade them from seeing each other, due to the ensuing rivalry between the two families, they decided to elope.

They planned to meet in the nearby fields near a mulberry tree and elope thereafter. Thisbe who was first to reach the place, on seeing a lion with bloody jaws approaching a spring close to her, ran to hide from the lion, dropping her veil unknowingly in the hurry. Unbeknowst to the fact of what had just transpired, when Pyramus arrived and saw Thisbe’s veil in the lion's blood drenched jaws, he ended his life by piercing his sword into his chest. Thisbe on seeing what Pyramus had done to himself took the sword and killed herself.

Salim and Anarkali

Prince Salim was the son of, the famous mughal emperor Akbar and his wife Jodha bai. During his childhood he was extremely spoilt and incredibly rude owing to which, his father Akbar decided to send him off to the war, to teach him the basic priniciples of courage and discipline.

On Salim's subsequent return, after a period 14 years, Akbar decided to hold a great mujra (dance performance) for him. This mujra was performed by a beautiful girl named Nadeera, who was later honoured with the epithet of Anarkali meaning ' pomegranate blossom', by Akbar. Prince Salim after seeing her perform and becoming mesmerized by her beauty fell in love with her and later even her love towards him became pretty apparent.

When Prince Saleem informed his father, Akbar, of his intention to marry Anarkali , Akbar refused stating that Anarkali was a dancer and a maid and not of noble blood. This led to an argument between the two and Akbar ordered the subsequent arrest of Anarkali.

After many futile attempts, Salim finally helped Anarkali escape, and out of anger waged a war against his father Akbar's city, Akbar, being the emperor,quickly defeated Salim and gave him two choices: to surrender Anarkali or to face the death penalty. Salim, out of love for Anarkali, chose the death penalty. Unable to allow Prince Salim to die, Anarkali came out of hiding, met Akbar and offered him her life instead of Salim's, with one last wish of being able to spend one last night with Salim, when Akbar agreed, she spent the night with Saleem, and after drugging him with a pomegranate blossom, left the royal palace with the guards.

Now they are two versions some believe that she was taken to a large ditch, which was made for her, and lowered into it, strapped to a board of wood, with a brick wall placed along the entrance, to prevent her escape.

Another version states that moved by Anarkali's love for his son Emperor Akbar helped her escape from the ditch through a series of underground tunnels with the promise that she would leave the Mughal empire forever and never return.

Antony and Cleopatra

Mark Antony a key figure in the world of Roman politics, was a close ally of the famous Roman general, Julius Caesar. Upon Caesar's death Antony sent for Cleopatra( who was Caesar's mistress), to discuss political alliances for ensuring Egypt’s loyalty to Rome. When they met, he was instantly enamoured by her charm, and began a relationship with her. This soon led to marriage and solidified Cleopatra’s union with Rome. But this union was not an easy one, after a lot of turbulations, when they were finally about to reunite, the Romans who were already leery about the increasing power of Egyptians waged a war against Antony and Cleopatra.

While fighting in the battle, Antony thinking that Cleopatra had died, killed himself with his own sword. When Cleopatra came to know of Antony’s death, she inturn committed suicide.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is the most famous and tragic love story of two star crossed lovers whose death finally led to the reconciliation of their feuding families.

When this couple met for the first time they instantly fell in love, but they could not openly declare their love due to the deep rooted differences between their families( the Capulets and the Montagues).

Soon they married each other in a secret ceremony, but could not unite due to a feud that erupted between Juliet's brother Tybalt and Romeo's best friend Mercutio. This feud led to Mercutio's death which in turn made the grief stricken Romeo take Tybalt's life.

This led to Romeo's exile from Verona, and subsequently Juliet’s marriage getting fixed with the Count of Paris. When after repeated attempts, she could not convince her father against the marriage. She decided to stage her own death by taking a drug, just before the marriage,that would put her into a death like coma for 42 hours.

But the plan backfired when the messenger that she had sent to Romeo, failed to reach him on time and Romeo believing that Juliet had died committed suicide by drinking poison, right beside her crypt. Juliet after waking up and finding her husband dead, took her own life with his dagger. thus becoming a synonym of love for generations to come.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

Prince Khurram ( Shah Jahan ) was first engaged to Arjumand Banu Begum (Mumtaz Mahal), when they were just 15 and 14 years old, respectively. But due to some unknown reason their marriage got delayed. They finally married after a period of 5 years.

They had a very happy marriage. She was not only his devoted wife but also his crucial advisor and confidante, thus gaining the name Mumtaz Mahal (the chosen one of the palace).

She later died, aged 40, while giving birth to her daughter Gauhara Begum due to postpartum hemmorhage, which caused considerable blood-loss after a painful labour of thirty hours.Her body was buried in a walled pleasure garden known as Zainabad.

Her death had a profound impact on Shah Jahan's life, he went into seclusion for a year after which he decided to construct, a suitable mausoleum and funerary garden in Agra in honour of his wife. This entire construction took 22 years to complete, and became one of the most beautiful and universally admired master pieces in worlds heritage, receiving the name TAJ MAHAL(crown of palaces).

Paris and Helen

Paris or Alexander, son of Priam and Hecuba, was abandoned at a very young age on Mt. Ida, due to a prophecy that claimed, that he would be responsible for the destruction of Troy.

When he later returned to Troy, he was chosen by Zeus to settle a dispute among the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, all of whom claimed the possession of the apple of discord, a golden fruit inscribed "to the fairest."

All three bribed Paris to win the coveted title. Hera tried to bribe Paris with royal greatness and riches, and Athena offered him success in war, but Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who promised him Helen, the most beautiful of women.

A few years later, Paris went to Sparta and abducted Helen( who was by then married to King Menelaus) to Troy, which triggered the Trojan War.

The war ended with Paris getting mortally wounded during the fall of Troy, while Helen returning to her husband in Sparta.

Orpheus and Eurydice

The ancient Greek mythological hero Orpheus, was not only known for his beautiful music,but also for his deep seated love for his wife Eurydice.

He loved her so much so that, when his wife died from a snake bite, he decided to travel to the underworld to get her back. After charming the gods of the Hades,with his music, he was permitted by them to take his wife back, under one condition, that he must not look back until he and his wife escape the Underworld.

As they reached the portals of Hades, Orpheus turned back to see if Eurydice was following him and this made her immediately disappear back into the world of the dead.

This small folly of his, forced him to return to the earth alone, in utter despair, which is said to be his only companion for the rest of his life.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      pyramus and thisbe story is heart touching

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      i love the story of saleem n anarkali........

    • gareema profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from India


    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub and beautifully done!

      In the Indian context, I think Heer-Raanjha, Laila-Majnu and Sheeri-Farhaad' s love stories also had tragic endings.

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub!

    • gareema profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from India

      Haven't heard of them but I will definitely check them out

    • Alphapx profile image


      4 years ago from Philippines

      Yes. Thanks. You're welcome. How about the story of Samson and Delilah, would it be the same or like those lovely stories? I just know few things about that Bible story.

    • gareema profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from India

      Yeah thanks I will surely add it to my list

    • Alphapx profile image


      4 years ago from Philippines

      Salim and Anarkali story is not so popular to me. The rest are very well-known to the world of literature.

      I may also add Helen of Troy if you may agree. :)


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