Love can move mountains. In the past, it has brought down gods and kings. These are the list of epic love stories that had a tragic end but still proved that real love exists.
“Don’t waste your love on somebody who doesn’t value it.” — William Shakespeare
Bonnie and Clyde
The couple has traveled the Central United States and were responsible for several deaths, including police officers. Their relationship was not considered sweet due to the magnitude of the trouble they caused the authorities. However, their story was thought to be love at first sight. Clyde’s previous criminal record did not deter Bonnie from falling for him. She even decided to join him in his adventure until the end. After being killed in an ambush set by police in Louisiana, the girl’s family did not allow them to be buried together.
Napoleon and Josephine
These two had a shaky marriage from the very beginning. Napoleon left for Italy on military business only two days after their wedding. Josephine soon committed infidelity by having an affair with a lieutenant. This action angered Napoleon and pushed him to have an extra-marital affair of his own. To make matters worse, upon the discovery of Josephine’s inability to bear an heir to Napoleon, he went for a divorce.
After the divorce, Napoleon married Marie-Louise, who bore him an heir. Despite the bitter end of the marriage between Napoleon and Josephine, the man’s last words included the name “Josephine.”
Romeo and Juliet
The most famous tragic love story that everyone knows is Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare around 1590s. It is about the forbidden lovers’ families hating each other that they cannot be together. At some point, Juliet’s father engaged her to someone else. To avoid being married off, she took a portion to fake suicide. Romeo thought she had actually committed suicide. Therefore, he killed himself. Juliet followed suit and committed suicide by dead by stabbing herself.
Tristan and Iseult
Their adulterous love story was famous in France at around the 12th century. Several versions of the story were told, but they all followed the same outline. Iseult was supposed to marry Tristan’s uncle, King Mark, but ingested a portion, leading them to fall in love with each other.
The marriage between the girl and the king proceeded as planned. However, this did not deter their relationship; it was hard to resist the attraction. The king finally discovered the affair, and the lovers were lucky enough to avoid death. Tristan married another woman while Iseult had to return to the side of her husband. Tristan died of desolation, believing that Iseult never wanted to see him. Iseult died while grieving the death of her love, Tristan.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Known for his beautiful music, Orpheus went to the underworld to bring back the love of his life and his wife, Eurydice. The beasts and all the creature in the underworld were pleased to hear the music out of the mythological hero. As such, they let him take Eurydice back with him with the instruction that he should never look back upon escaping the underworld. “Curiosity kills the cat” proved to be true when Orpheus dared to look back to see if Eurydice was following. This instantly made the love of his life to disappear back into the underworld.
Alexander 1 of Serbia and Draga Mašin
No one could have stopped the love the King had for Draga. She was a widow and a lady-in-waiting to the mother of the king, and only 12 years older. His mother’s opposition on marrying Draga made the King banish his mother from the country. At some time, the tension subsided but returned with greater intensity after a false pregnancy scandal. News circulated that the Queen’s brother would be proclaimed the heir to the throne. Therefore, conspirators made a plan for the demise of the royal couple. Military officers invaded the palace and murdered them.
Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Most people do not know this, but the lovers left one of the greatest architectural masterpieces, Taj Mahal. They shared a happy marriage up until Mumtaz died while giving birth to the 14th child in the family. Her death led Shah Jahan into a depression. However, it inspired him to build the famous Taj Mahal as the resting place of his late wife. Not long after finishing Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan fell sick and was ousted by his eldest child and thrown into house arrest. He was buried next to his wife upon his death.
Lancelot and Guinevere
The story of Lancelot and Guinevere is a part of the Arthurian legend. It is thought to have been inspired or influenced by that of Tristan and Iseult. Just like the latter, Lancelot and Guinevere were adulterous lovers. Guinevere was married to King Arthur who, just like King Mark did not suspect anything at first. He eventually found out that his wife was unfaithful to him with one of his most loyal knights.
The Knights of the Round Table split into two factions, one that supported King Arthur and another that supported Lancelot. After several fierce battles between the two groups, Guinevere returned to King Arthur, but the destruction of the Round Table enabled Mordred to challenge Arthur. The legendary King killed his rival, but he was mortally wounded. Guinevere, devastated for being responsible for the destruction of the Round Table and subsequent Arthur’s downfall, joined a convent. Lancelot joins a hermitage and eventually becomes a priest. Both spend the rest of their lives in repentance.
Cleopatra and Mark Anthony
The Egyptian lovers have made it to our list. Their love ended tragically after they both committed suicide due to their defeat by Romans under Octavian.
Mark Anthony stabbed himself after receiving the false news about the death of Cleopatra. Cleopatra, on the other hand, tried to make a deal with Octavian and upon realizing that she cannot charm him, killed herself by letting an asp bite her.
The love between the two resulted in the collapse of Troy. Paris had to decide which of the three goddesses is the fairest: Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. Aphrodite, promising the Trojan Prince the most beautiful woman in the world, was favored by Paris.
The woman promised by the goddess was Helen, wife of King Menelaus. Years passed, and Paris went to Sparta to claim Helen. This action led to the Trojan War. Eventually, Helen returned to her husband in Sparta. This action led to the impression that every woman makes their men weak at one point or another.