‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a play that shows true love conquering hate. Shakespeare’s tragic drama of the ‘star-crossed’ young lovers is seen to be an extraordinary work and was probably written in about 1594 or 1595. During much of the twentieth century, critics tended to disparage this play in comparison to the four great tragedies that Shakespeare wrote in the first decade of the seventeenth century (‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘Othello’).
Appraised next to Shakespeare’s mature works, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ appears to lack the psychological depth and the structural complexity of Shakespeare’s later tragedies. But over the past three decades or so, many scholars have altered this assessment, effectively upgrading its status within Shakespeare’s canon. The play opens with a prologue spoken by a Chorus in the form of a fourteen-line sonnet.
This is appropriate because it is a very structured play about love, and sonnets represent love. In this concise manner, we are told from the start that the play’s setting is the Italian city of Verona, that a blood feud between two families (Montagues and Capulets) is the context in which the star-crossed lovers (Romeo and Juliet) will fall in love, and that only with their deaths will this conflict come to an end. The first scene is a contrast to the prologue because it involves fighting and sexual innuendoes. Officers break up the fight, and the Prince, representing law and order threatens to kill “if ever you disturb our streets again.” In Act 1, Scene 5 Romeo meets Juliet for the first time and they fall in love. This leads to Romeo sneaking out in the middle of the night and going to visit Juliet at her house. In Act 2, Scene 3 we are introduced to Friar Lawrence who agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet, thinking that by doing this it may end the feud, but it does not.
... son of your great enemy. Shakespeare makes you wonder if Romeo and Juliet are actually in love. Since this play was written 400 years ago ... believe that Romeo is in love with Juliet, but Juliet is in love with Romeo. If Shakespeare wants me to believe that Romeo is in love with Juliet, he would ...
The wedding is not actually shown because the pace of the play needs to be kept, but also to remind the audience that it is not the marriage that leads to death, but the love between Romeo and Juliet. In Act 3, Scene 1 Tybalt kills Mercutio, and in turn is killed by Romeo, which leads to his banishment. When Juliet finds out about Romeo’s banishment she is devastated, and in Act 4, Scene 1 she threatens to kill herself. Friar Lawrence stops her because he has come up with a plan. He will give Juliet a potion that will make her seem to be dead, and she will be taken to a tomb. However the plan goes wrong, and Romeo thinks Juliet is actually dead, as he did not receive a letter written by Friar Lawrence.
He ends up taking an apothecary’s potion so that he can be with Juliet. Juliet then awakes, finding out that Romeo is dead and stabs herself with a dagger so that they can finally be together. It is only the death of these two young lovers that enables the feud to end. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a play where love and hate are the main themes. Love is presented in many different forms – sexual love, courtly love, dutiful love and familial love, which all contrast the most important type of love, the true love between Romeo and Juliet. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love is a violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions.
Hate is shown between the two houses, the Capulets and the Montagues. This hate leads to conflict and causes many deaths. Death is often associated with the image of a lover. In the opening lines of the play the love – hatred theme is presented at a bestial level by the heartless hinds.
Hatred is stimulated to fighting by an ob sence gesture, “I will bite my thumb at them”, And loving is mere rape, “Ay, the heads of the maids or their maidenheads – take it in what sense thou wilt.” sexual love is shown through the bestial behaviour of the servants – they will take the maids’ virginity, or cut off their heads. Throughout the play the audience will realise that sexual love affects everyone – the upper class but also the working class. The use of puns was very common in the Elizabethan times. Sexual punning begins in lines 25-35 and continues throughout the play, used mainly by the Nurse and Mercutio. The love of Romeo and Juliet, although idealised, is rooted in passionate sexuality. The Victorian ideal of ‘pure’, non-sexual romantic love has not yet evolved.
... Romeo and Juliet: Imagery of Love Romeo and Juliet: Imagery of Love William Shakespeare's play, 'The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet,' is the story of two 'star ... love for Juliet (5). It is fitting that herbs be symbolically portrayed in the play. Conclusion The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet ... to be a recurring theme in the play. In act two, scene two, Juliet summons Romeo, 'Hist, Romeo, hist! O, for a fall ...
In this play there are crude allusions to sex and exalted ones, but the erotic is never very far under the surface. The Nurse, who is one of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters, is introduced in Act 1, Scene 3. She is a bawdy old lady who revels in sex and sympathies with young lovers. Her very first words are about sex, referring to the fact that the last time she was a virgin she was twelve, “Now by my maidenhood – at twelve year old.” Her final line also suggests that the main joy of marriage is to be found in lovemaking, “women grow by men.” This emphasises the physical act of love, and forms a contrast to the idealised love of Romeo and Juliet and formality of Paris’ love. The Nurse is a very talkative, caring woman who throughout the play helps to develop the theme of sexual love. She is melodramatic and has a coarse sense of humour, but unlike Sampson she is not offensive.
In Act 2, Scene 1 Mercutio believes that Romeo is with Rosaline, although he is really with Juliet. The significance of Romeo’s hiding and of Mercutio’s vain conjuring is to emphasise that Romeo has renounced his conventional love of Act 1. He has no interest in Mercutio’s bawdiness, and so appears as it were cleansed of un realities and superficial ities for the purity of the next scene. In Mercutio’s next speeches to Benvolio he is very bawdy, “‘two ud anger him / To raise a spirit in his mistress’ circle… Till she had laid it and conjured it down” Mercutio has a cynical view of love and believes that women are good for one thing only and along with the Nurse he provides entertainment and adds humour to the play using sexual love. Mercutio and Benvolio cannot find Romeo in Act 2, Scene 4, “Where the devil should this Romeo be?” Mercutio automatically assumes that Romeo has spent the night with Rosaline, and that he has been worn out sexually.
... sneak around their families to get married. Juliet would tell her father that she loves Romeo and that she is already married to ... him. Romeo would tell Tybalt that he is married to Juliet. They would display their love ... afraid to display to the world their love for the other. Romeo and Juliet keep their love a secret. They lie to their families ...
After this the references to sexual love become fewer because the play revolves around the love between Romeo and Juliet, showing it is pure. There is no more humour, which was linked to sexual love, as the play becomes serious, and revolves around Romeo and Juliet’s love. Sexual love forms a contrast between the love of Romeo and Juliet showing their feelings are honest and their love is true. At the beginning of the play Montague’s description of Romeo’s melancholy fits the contemporary ideas of lovesickness, contrasting Romeo’s mooning over Rosaline with the fresh, spontaneous passion, which Juliet will inspire in him. Romeo is not involved in the hatred at the start of the play, his love is too incomplete and sterile. When he first enters he is behaving in the manner of a courtly lover, “Out of her favour where I am in love.” The language he uses in this scene represents his feeling of unrequited love.
He represents a typical, Elizabethan courtly lover. Romeo appears downcast and distracted, but he nevertheless speaks in highly figurative language about the brawl, using oxymorons like “loving hate”, “heavy lightness” and “serious vanity.” The many oxymorons in Romeo’s speech are clich ” es, meant to evoke his callow, stereotypical attitude toward love. These oxymorons are compared to the religious sonnets shared between Romeo and Juliet to show that this courtly love Romeo feels is superfluous. Romeo and Benvolio have a long discussion of love, during which we find that Romeo is in love just exactly as the culture of the day said a young man was supposed to be in love. In the popular love poetry of Shakespeare’s time, the focus is always on the sufferings of the male lover.
The lady is beautiful, and her beauty strikes a man through the eyes, into the heart, making him fall in love. He suffers and tries to tell the lady of his suffering, so she may pity him and return his love. However she cruelly rejects his advances, and so he suffers some more, both from the fire of love and the coldness of her heart. Benvolio tries to counsel Romeo with a series of proverbs grouped for effectiveness at the sestet of a sonnet, “One man is lessened by another’s anguish… And the rank poison of the old will die.” He tries to cure Romeo’s love – sickness by persuading him to take a look at someone other than Rosaline. He tells Romeo that the cure for his current love – sickness is a new love – sickness.
... it is partially Lady Capulets, Friar Lawrences and Romeos fault. Romeo and Juliet, is a story of two young lovers, whose love whose love would bring them ... ). When Friar Lawrence and Juliet are in the tomb, after Romeo killed Paris, then himself, Juliet awakens. Juliet awakens, and asks where Romeo is? Friar Lawrence ...
Later on in the scene Benvolio uses bird imagery, “And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.” Rosaline is described as a crow in contrast to Juliet who is described as a “snowy dove.” Light imagery is also used, but in a different context to the light used with Juliet. When Romeo sees Juliet he uses positive images – brightness of fire, compared to the “hot” fire of Rosaline who has burnt Romeo painfully. In Act 1, Scene 4 Benvolio says, “we ” ll have no Cupid hoodwinked with a scarf.” Cupid was traditionally depicted as blindfolded. This perhaps suggests that the old love for Rosaline represented by cupid is ending. Romeo still thinks he loves Rosaline, and is looking forward to seeing her at the feast, but is mocked by Mercutio who doesn’t believe in true love, “And to sink in it should you burden love; / Too great oppression for a tender thing.” Romeo’s last speech before entering the Capulet’s house is foreshadowing, “By some vile forfeit of untimely death. / But he that hath the steerage of my course” He foreshadows to perhaps remind the audience of the tragedy to come and that Romeo’s ‘love’ for Rosaline is not real.
Shakespeare has personified fate to make it sound more dramatic and to create tension. Sea imagery, “steerage of course” has been used to show that the natural force is often unpredictable. When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time he feels true love, “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight, / For I ne ” er saw true beauty till this night.” Romeo equates looking with loving, as Lady Capulet did when she spoke to Juliet about Paris. The rhyming couplet emphasises that Rosaline is totally forgotten, and makes the audience aware that his love for Juliet is totally different. Romeo’s character develops from this scene onwards. At the beginning of the play he was suffering courtly love from Rosaline, but at the end he feels true love towards Juliet.
... it. Juliet- Juliet is a Capulet and the love of Romeo. She is also the love interest of Paris but despises him very much. Juliet much like Romeo is ... when it comes to emotions. Friar Laurence- The Friar is a friend of Romeo. Friar Laurence is the guy Romeo comes to when he has ...
The audience might also feel that Paris suffers from courtly love. His love for Juliet starts off as formal love and he admires her from afar, but as the play goes on the audience will know that Juliet never plans to marry Paris, and never has, or never will love him. Paris did really love Juliet as he goes to Juliet’s tomb when she ‘dies’ to glimpse her beauty once more. Romeo warns Paris to leave, but Paris ignores the warning, “I do defy thy conjuration, / And apprehend thee for a felon here.” It shows Paris’ love for Juliet because he is willing to be killed so Romeo can’t get past, and in the end Paris does end up getting killed by Romeo. Paris is a man who plays by the book. His love for Juliet is dutiful not true, “But now my Lord, what say you to my suit?” Paris approaches Capulet and asks him for Juliet’s hand in marriage.
This shows how he wants to do everything right, and contrasts Romeo’s love for Juliet, as they decide to get married on the spur of the moment. Capulet however is sceptical, saying Juliet is too young and that he shall have to ‘woo’ her, as he wants Juliet to be happy in the match. Paris doesn’t appear in the play again until Act 3, Scene 4. Once again he is talking to Capulet, and not Juliet. He has not yet actually come into contact with Juliet, but feels that he is right for her. Credit must be given to him for acting in a much more proper fashion than Romeo, but the audience will feel that he is getting in the way of Romeo and Juliet’s true love.
Act 4, scene 1 sees Paris and Juliet meet for the first time, but their conversation is very limited, “Come you make confess to this father? To answer that, I should confess to you. Do not deny to him that you love me. If I do so, it will be of more price, / Being spoke behind your back, than to your face.” Their short sentences suggest that they do not have much in common, and do not really know what to say to each other. Their conversation is very formal and lacks passion, which is the opposite of Romeo and Juliet’s conversations, which are full of passion and love.
... similarities. The most apparent difference between Romeo and Paris is the Capulet's ... while he mourns over her. Unquestionably, both Romeo and Paris love and care for Juliet. Romeo and Paris's differences are much more apparent than their ...
Paris sees Juliet as a possession, and not for what she really is, “Thy face is mine, and thou hast slandered it.” Paris does not feel true love for Juliet, as he acts wooden and formal when he is with her, “this holy kiss.” This once again contrasts Romeo and Juliet’s love, showing the audience how passionate they are, and how Paris’ love is just dutiful. Throughout the play the audience can see how Juliet’s character changes and matures. At the beginning of the play Lady Capulet tells Juliet that “The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.” Juliet says nothing, perhaps because the Nurse does not give her a chance. The Nurse sputters and searches for the words to say how handsome Paris is, then exclaims, “why he’s a man of wax.” In other words, he is as perfect as a wax sculpture.
Lady Capulet also praises Paris as the most perfect flower of Verona, then asks Juliet if she can love him. Both Lady Capulet and the Nurse believe that Juliet should marry for duty – money and possession, as Lady Capulet did, and not love. Juliet being dutiful towards her mother says, “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.” Juliet acts as the obedient daughter, and will do exactly what her mum asks. However this obedient character of Juliet changes in Act 3, Scene 5 when she refuses to agree to marry Paris. “He shall not make me there a joyful bride.” She disobeys her mother’s commands, and has now become the disobedient Juliet.
The more independent that Juliet is becoming, the less she is the “hopeful lady of my earth.” Family love is one of the main themes in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but in the end it is rejected for true love. After the street brawl of the opening scene, Benvolio stays behind to talk with Romeo’s parents. Lady Montague shows a motherly concern for her son, “O where is Romeo? Saw you him today? / Right glad I am he was not at this fray.” She is glad that Romeo was not involved in the fight, which shows that she cares for him. This motherly love is reinforced later on in the play when Lady Montague actually dies from grief.
It was believed that sudden violent grief would bring about death for the sudden rush of blood to the heart strangled it. Montague is also worried about his son, and thinks that he should not be alone, for he is in melancholy. Romeo has not told anyone what is wrong, so that he is like “the bud bit with an envious worm, / Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air, / Or dedicate his beauty to the sun.” Montague is comparing his son to a flower bud being eaten away from the inside by a worm, so that he will be ruined before he has a chance to bloom. Nowadays such high flown language is not used, but we have the same kind of worries as Montague; any father would be worried to see his beautiful child eaten alive by depression. In Act 3, Scene 2 Montague’s love for Romeo is shown, as he persuades the Prince not to execute him. Romeo’s love towards his father is returned in Act 5, Scene 1, when he asks Balthasar how his father is.
The Capulets are not as close to Juliet as the Montagues are to Romeo, however in Act 1, Scene 2 Capulet is portrayed as a loving father. When Paris asks him for Juliet’s hand in marriage he replies saying she is too young, but Paris does not agree. Capulet doesn’t want Juliet to make the same mistake that he did of marrying too young, which shows that he thinks of her as his young, innocent girl whom he wants to protect and love. Capulet asks for a little understanding, saying, “Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she, / She is the hopeful lady of my earth.” In plain terms, Juliet is Capulet’s only living child and his heiress, but the phrase “hopeful lady of my earth” also means that she is the hope around which his world turns. Nevertheless, he urges Paris to woo Juliet and says, “My will to her consent is but a part”, which means that even if he agrees to the marriage, Juliet has the final say.
The audience will feel that he is doing the right thing by Juliet, and being a good father, but later on in the play he has a drastic change of heart about this issue. In the scene following Paris’ proposal Lady Capulet wishes to speak with Juliet. The Nurse, when calling for Juliet uses nicknames, “What Lamb! What Lady-bird!” Thus we see the contrast between Juliet’s relationship with her nurse and her relationship with her mother. The Nurse is the one who calls Juliet nicknames; Lady Capulet is the one whom Juliet addresses as “madam.” As the scene progresses, this contrast is heightened. Lady Capulet thinks Juliet is old enough to get married, and wants Juliet to seriously consider Paris’ proposal; the Nurse will be happy to see Juliet happily married, but what she really likes to talk about is how cute Juliet was when she was a baby. It’s as though Juliet has two mothers, one who adores her no matter what she does, and one who wants her to grow up and do something with her life.
In the evening of the day of Juliet’s marriage to Romeo, Capulet explains to Paris that he has not had a chance to speak to Juliet about marrying. Then Capulet adds, “Look you, she loved her kinsman Tybalt dearly.” This seems to suggest that Capulet has some sensitivity about her feelings. But within a few moments he offers Paris Juliet’s hand in marriage, saying, “Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender / Of my child’s love. I think she will be ruled / In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not.” Capulet’s offer of Juliet’s love is “desperate” in the sense of “bold” because he has made the offer without knowing how Juliet feels about Paris. But the more common meaning of “desperate” is “reckless” or “thoughtless”, and it certainly seems that Capulet didn’t think before he spoke. However, once Capulet makes the offer he quickly becomes quite sure that he can follow through.
He first thinks that Juliet will obey him, then he has no doubt that she will. Capulet thinks that because Juliet is his daughter he can control her. The audience is shown in Act 3, Scene 5 how distant the Capulet family has become. Capulet believes that Juliet should marry Paris, and threatens to disown her when she disobeys. Like most parents, they want what is best for Juliet, and like many parents they think they know her so well that they know what is best for her better than she does.
The family started splitting up after Romeo and Juliet got married, and only cared for each other. Juliet has slowly isolated herself from her family, and all that she has left to fall back on is Romeo. When Juliet’s parents think she is dead they are grief-stricken. Although Capulet had threatened to put her out on the street to starve and Lady Capulet had declared she was done with her, now that Juliet is (apparently) dead, they both say that all their happiness depended on her. Friar Lawrence and the Nurse act as surrogate parents to Romeo and Juliet.
When Romeo comes to see Friar Lawrence he is addressed as “son”, and Romeo calls the Friar “father”, which is appropriate because of the Friar’s status as a priest; however, the two of them also seem to have a secular father – son relationship. During their conversation the Friar says, “Our Romeo hath not been in bed tonight.” The use of the word “our” suggests that the Friar considers Romeo to be part of his family, and the fact that the Friar guesses the truth about Romeo suggests that he knows him quite well. These impressions are strengthened as the scene unfolds, for when the Friar learns of Romeo’s love for Juliet, he immediately starts chiding the young man about Rosaline. As the Friar talks about how Romeo has wept and sighed for Rosaline, we see that Romeo has confided in him more than he has in his parents or his friend Benvolio. Also, the Friar’s chiding is a half-joking way of expressing his concern that Romeo has simply traded one hopeless infatuation for another. After Romeo kills Tybalt, he hides in Friar Lawrence’s cell.
The Friar acts as a counsellor and says the sort of things that parents would say – that Romeo should grow up, that Romeo should realise how lucky he is, that Romeo should think about all he has to live for – but none of this seems to reach Romeo. The Friar then tells Romeo what to do when knocking is heard, like a parent would. These stage directions and the punctuation used by the Friar in this scene creates tension. The Friar’s love for Romeo is ironic, as the more he does to help him, the more trouble that he causes for him and Juliet. Throughout the play the Friar wants to do right, but through his ideas that he thought were harmless he helps to cause the tragedy. The Nurse, talking with Romeo in Act 2, Scene 4 about his arrangements for the wedding between himself and Juliet, expresses parental worry that Romeo might be trying to take advantage of Juliet’s youthful innocence, “the gentlewoman is young, and therefore if you should deal double with her, truly it were an ill thing to be offered to any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing.” However, when she is sure that Romeo really does intend marriage, the Nurse is very happy showing that she loves Juliet like a daughter.
Throughout the play the Nurse and Juliet have been very close, as apart from the Friar she was the only one to know about her and Romeo’s wedding. However at the end of the play the audience will feel that their close relationship has changed, as Juliet does not confide in the Nurse of the plan. Family love is also shown between friends, especially Romeo and Benvolio. Benvolio listens, comforts and gives advice to Romeo when he is down, “By giving liberty unto thy eyes. / Examine other beauties.” He tells Romeo to look at other women and stop wallowing in self-pity. This is typical of Benvolio, as he is a man who does not believe in true love.
After Romeo has killed Tybalt Benvolio says, “Romeo away, be gone” showing that he cares for Romeo and does not want anything bad to happen to him. Love in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a grand passion, and as such it is blinding, it can overwhelm a person as powerfully and completely as hate can. The passionate love between Romeo and Juliet is linked from the moment of its interception with death. Tybalt has noticed that Romeo has crashed the feast and determines to kill him, just as Romeo catches sight of Juliet and falls instantly in love with her. From that point on love seems to push the two lovers closer to love and violence, not further from it. True love is first shown in Act 1, Scene 5.
When Romeo first sees Juliet he falls instantly in love with her, jettisoning his love for Rosaline. On first seeing Juliet, Romeo describes her beauty in terms of dark and light, “She doth teach the torches to burn bright” He means that her beauty is brighter than the blaze of any torch and that her presence makes the whole room light up. The bright blaze of Juliet’s beauty is made even brighter by the contrasts with the blackness of an “Ethiop e” and the blackness of crows. In the Elizabethan times it was believed that true love always struck at first sight; love that grew gradually was no love at all. Romeo’s first words to Juliet are a sonnet quatrain in which he says that he is an unworthy pilgrim come to the shrine of Juliet’s beauty. Juliet replies with a second sonnet quatrain, encouraging him in this vein.
In a series of exchanges, the lovers jointly complete a 14-line sonnet and then kiss, “Have not saint lips, and holy palmers too? Ay Pilgrim lips that they must in prayer.” Love is being described in the terms of religion, which shows the depth and purity of their love, and later in the play it is described as a sort of magic. The love between Romeo and Juliet is reciprocated as they speak alternate lines that link them closely. The language used is a contrast to the type of language used by the servants, as it is pure love that is shown, not sexual. After Romeo and Juliet kiss Juliet says, “You kiss by th’ book” meaning that he kisses according to the book, and implying that while proficient, his kissing lacks originality. In reference to Rosaline, it seems, Romeo loves by the book.
Rosaline, of course, slips from Romeo’s mind at first sight of Juliet, but Juliet is no mere replacement. The love she shares with Romeo is far deeper, more authentic and unique that the clich ” ed puppy love Romeo felt for Rosaline. Romeo’s development is due to Juliet; her level-headed observations, such as the one about Romeo’s kissing, seem just the thing to snap Romeo from his superficial idea of love, and to inspire him to speak some of the most beautiful and intense love poetry ever written. In the next part of the scene Romeo foreshadows by saying “Ay so I fear, the more is my unrest.” He can’t stop the way he feels about Juliet, it’s too late – he is already in love with her. Juliet also uses foreboding and dramatic irony, “My grave is like to be my wedding-bed.” Act 2, Scene 2 is seen as one of the most famous scenes in the play, and is known as the balcony scene.
Here Romeo and Juliet meet for the second time. Thus the entire opening to this scene is devoted to Romeo’s fevered desire that she will make love with him. Despite Romeo’s passion, he is shy enough, and polite enough not to simply burst in upon her. It is the tension between his overwhelming desire and his reticence that shows how much he truly loves her.
Romeo’s first speech to Juliet is full of light imagery, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound… And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.” Though it is late at night, Juliet’s surpassing beauty makes Romeo think that she is the sun, transforming the darkness into daylight. Romeo likewise personifies the moon calling it “sick and pale with grief” at the fact that Juliet, the sun, is far brighter and more beautiful. Romeo then compares Juliet to the stars, claiming that she eclipses the stars as daylight overpowers a lamp – her eyes alone shine so bright that they will convince the birds to sing at night as if it were day. This quote is important because in addition to initiating one of the plays most beautiful and famous sequences of poetry, it is a prime example of the light / dark motif that runs throughout the play. Many scenes in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ are set either late at night or early in the morning, and Shakespeare often uses the contrast between night and day to explore opposing alternatives in a given situation.
Through Romeo’s speech the audience will feel the purity of love between Romeo and Juliet. He thinks that Juliet is perfect and full of beauty, and says nothing crude. Juliet’s second lines to Romeo are perhaps the most important in the play, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo… And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” Juliet, not realising that Romeo is below in the orchard asks why Romeo must be a Montague. Still unaware of Romeo’s presence, she asks him to deny his family for her loves. She adds, however, that if he will not, she will deny her family in order to be with him if he merely tells her that he loves her.
A major theme in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the tensions between social and family identity, and one’s inner identity. Juliet believes that love stems from ones inner identity, and that the feud between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s is a product of the outer identity, banned only on names. She thinks of Romeo in individual terms, and thus her love for him overrides her family’s hatred for the Montague name. In this scene Romeo acts impulsively, while Juliet is practical and sensible. Romeo speaks romantically, which is different to how Juliet speaks. During this scene Romeo foreshadows, “For stony limits cannot hold love out.” This is done by Shakespeare to remind the audience of what this love leads to.
Romeo says that he would die for Juliet because he loves her so much, “And but thou love me, let them find me here, / My life were better ended by their hate.” This shows the contrast between love and hate – a problem in their relationship. Juliet’s first long speech makes clear that she is still a virtuous young women who wishes her love had not been so promptly revealed, but now that it has been, she does not intend to look backwards. Much of the rest of her speech examines a paradox in traditional European attitudes toward love as they concerned women; a woman should fall instantly in love upon first seeing her beloved, but it was highly improper for her to reveal her feelings. Romeo’s statement, “O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied” is obviously startling to Juliet, but he quickly recovers by insisting that he will love her faithfully.
Having once proclaimed her love, the font of Juliet’s eloquence is unstopped, and she becomes the dominant figure in the rest of this scene. One of the most charming touches in this scene is Juliet being overwhelmed by Romeo’s presence that she couldn’t remember why she called him back. Bird imagery is often referred to by Shakespeare in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and is used once again in this scene, “O for a falconer’s voice.” It is appropriate because the swiftness and flight soon becomes very important in the play. At the end of this scene the audience will know how strong the love between Romeo and Juliet is. In Act 2, Scene 5 Juliet is anxious – she needs to know what Romeo has said to the Nurse.
This shows that she is not quite sure if Romeo loves her as much as she loves him, “Is three long hours, yet she is not come. / Had she affections and warm youthful blood, / She would be swift in motion as a ball.” Juliet feels that if the Nurse was young and had the love of Juliet then she would be quick with the answer. Shakespeare has formed a sense of urgency and tension through the style of the language. Juliet is very cunning. She tries to manipulate the Nurse – flatter her so that she ” ll tell Juliet the news, “Sweet, sweet, sweet Nurse.” This shows signs of Juliet’s maturity, which has grown due to her, and Romeo’s love.
When Juliet finds out that Romeo will marry her she exclaims “Hie to high fortune!” showing her happiness and excitement towards the marriage, which is the total opposite of how she feels when her father tells her that she must marry Paris. Romeo’s love for Juliet is reinforced in Act 2, Scene 6 when he is with the Friar, “Then love-devouring death do what he dare.” He is saying let death do what it wants, as he has Juliet, ie. One minute with Juliet is worth dying for, which is a bit rational but obviously shows how strong his love is. Romeo and Juliet don’t think, they follow their passion and not their heads. This excessive of passion will lead to the tragedy and passion must be controlled by reason. At the Capulet house Juliet is unaware of the killings and speaks a soliloquy in which she implores the sun to set so that night can fall and she can elope with Romeo.
In her speech Shakespeare has personified nature as it was seen as a strong and influential force in the Elizabethan times. Light and dark imagery is also used as it is throughout the play, as it has a strong link to the true love between Romeo and Juliet, “Spread they close curtain, love – performing night, / That runaway’s eyes may wink, and Romeo / Leap to these arms, un talked of and unseen.” Juliet is seeing things as though she is on a bed, seeing the curtains close about her, bringing the dark in which acts of love are performed. In the dark lovers will provide their own light because “lovers can see to do their amorous rites / By their own beauties.” This idea, that beauty creates its own light, is the same one Romeo talked about when he saw Juliet on her balcony and described her as an angel shining in the night. Tension is created in Act 3, Scene 2. The Nurse does not tell Juliet who is dead. Juliet, along with the audience may think that it is Romeo who is dead.
The death creates dramatic tension, along with the short sentences. Juliet uses oxymorons that link her and Romeo closely, “a damned saint, an honourable villain.” These oxymorons are used so Juliet can makes sense of what has happened. When finding out that it is Tybalt that has died and Romeo has been banished, Juliet focuses on Romeo, not Tybalt. She is more concerned with Romeo’s banishment than Tybalt’s death, showing her loyalty towards him. There is a development in Juliet’s character, as her maturity grows when she realises that Romeo isn’t what he seemed.
He has two sides, positive and negative, “Beautiful tyrant.” However Juliet chastises herself for saying these unkind remarks, and fixes upon the word “banishment”, and says that she would rather ten thousand Tybalt’s had died, than that her Romeo be banished. In this play death is very important, and here Romeo’s love is personified as death. In Act 3, Scene 5 there is a lot of reference to night and day, and the stars and the sun are personified representing true love. Night has become friendly and brings secrecy, while daylight is the enemy and brings danger.
An aubade is used, a song / poem sang at dawn, usually by a parting lover. In Elizabethan times it was seen as a song of mourning – it heightens and intensifies emotions. This scene shows that Romeo and Juliet are deeply in love, but lament the turn of events that will force them to part. Juliet has a very passionate speech in Act 4, Scene 1 where she says she’d rather die than marry Paris as she is in love with Romeo.
She uses violent and wild images of death which mirror her strength of emotion and shows the strength of her love. Agreeing to take the potion shows her loyalty towards Romeo and how much she loves him. Before actually taking the potion Juliet has many doubts. She is scared and thinks that she will wake up in the tomb before Romeo gets there – this is ironic as she actually wakes up too late. The mention of the “bloody Tybalt” is to remind the audience of how Romeo and Juliet got to be in this desperate situation. Juliet’s love for Romeo gives her courage to actually go through with taking the potion, “Romeo! Romeo! Romeo! I drink to thee.” The repetition of “Romeo” shows Juliet’s love.
There is also a parallel between Romeo and Juliet as they both have doubts about the potion they ” re going to take, which links them closely. When Juliet wakes up and finds Romeo not with her she is devastated and wished that Romeo could have left some potion so that they could be together. So instead she takes Romeo’s dagger and kills herself. This shows how strong her love for Romeo was as she is willing to go through pain to finally be with him. Romeo goes to buy a potion from the apothecary so that he and Juliet can be together. He does not see it as death or bad, but sees it as good proving how strong his love for Juliet is.
In Act 5, Scene 3 Romeo says, “Why I descend into this bed of death.” Death is personified as a lover. Throughout the play death and love seem to be linked very closely. Animal imagery is used, “than empty tigers” as in the Elizabethan times it was thought that animals acted on instinct and this is how Romeo acts. In Romeo’s speech before he kills himself all his emotions are revealed, “Death that hath sucked the honey of thy breath… And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.” This is ironic because death hasn’t conquered her yet. Romeo dies saying that he loves Juliet and the audiences know how strong he felt for her.
We sense the grand irony that in death Romeo and Juliet have created the world that would have allowed their love to live. That irony does exist, and it is tragic. But because of the power and beauty of their love, it is hard to see Romeo and Juliet’s death as a simple tragedy. Romeo and Juliet’s deaths are tragic, but this tragedy was fated: by the stars, by the violent world in which they live, by the play, and by their very natures. The audience, wanted this death, this tragedy.
At the play’s end, the audience do not feel sad for the loss of life as much as they feel wrenched by the incredible act of love that Romeo and Juliet have committed as monuments to each other and their love. Romeo and Juliet have been immortalized as the archetypes of true love not because their tragic deaths bury their parents’s tribe, but rather because they are willing to sacrifice everything – including themselves – for their love. That Romeo and Juliet must kill themselves to preserve their love is tragic. That they do kill themselves to preserve their love makes them transcendent. At the end of the play all the other types of love – courtly, faithful, sexual and family have been examined and found wanting. They are ultimately discarded to leave the purest form of love – the true love between Romeo and Juliet.
Throughout the play the themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. There is an obvious relationship between hate, violence and death. There is also the clashing juxtaposition of love and hate in the play. The first scene is full of hate and fighting and is a contrast to the Prologue, which is full of love and fate. The hate between the two households is due to the ‘ancient grudge’, a feud that has existed for a very long time.
It is actually unlikely that either household can remember what the feud is about. Two servants from the Capulet house start a fight with two servants from the Montague house, “[They fight.” Thus showing that the feud and hatred between the two families runs all the way through each house, the servants of the houses hate each other just as much as the heads do. The origin of the brawl, introduces the important theme of masculine honour. Masculine honour does not function in the play as some sort of stoic indifference to pain or insult. In Verona, a man must defend his honour whenever it is transgressed against, whether verbally or physically. This concept of masculine honour exists through every layer of society in Verona, from the servants on up to the noblemen.
It animates Samson and Gregory as much as it does Tybalt. It is significant that the fight between the Montagues and Capulets erupts first among the servants. Readers of the play generally focus on the two great noble families, as they should. However one should not overlook Shakespeare’s inclusion of servants in the story: the perspectives of servants in Romeo and Juliet are often used to comment on the actions of their masters, and therefore, society. However Benvolio, ‘the peace – maker’ tries to break up the fight, but when Tybalt, ‘the manifestation of hate’ enters he provokes Benvolio, “I hate the word, / As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee” showing pure hatred towards the Montagues, and causing another fight. Tybalt is a man who loves to fight, as the first thing that he says when he finds out that Romeo is at the party is, “Fetch me my rapier boy.” We know that he has an aggressive nature, but he pretends that he is doing it for the honour of his family, “Now by the stock and honour of my kin”, But really all he wants to do is fight.
This forms a contrast of love and hate, which causes tension. It reminds the audience of the conflict between the two houses, and shows that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is going to be hard. Capulet orders Tybalt not to fight, but Tybalt’s rage is set, creating the circumstances that will eventually banish Romeo from Verona. Tybalt threatens to turn the “seeming sweet” to “bitterest gall”, thus causing tension, as when will Tybalt have his revenge? Hate does not play an important role in the next act, as the act is more concentrated on the love of Romeo and Juliet.
However the audience are reminded many times that hate is the main problem in the relationship, and is one of the causes of the final tragedy, “For stony limits cannot hold love out”, “I have been feasting with my enemy” and “then love – devouring death do what he dare” are such examples. The audience is also reminded of the feud as the Friar says, “For this alliance may so happy prove, / To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” He thinks that by marrying Romeo and Juliet he will end the feud, but he is wrong. The sudden, fatal violence in the first Scene of Act 3, as well as the build-up to the fighting, serves as a reminder that, for all its emphasis on love, beauty, and romance, ‘Romeo and Juliet’s till takes place in a highly masculine world in which notions of honour, pride, and status are prone to erupt in a fury of conflict. Benvolio feels that if they might the Capulet’s there will be a fight, “And if we meet, we shall not ‘scape a brawl.” Heat leaves the character, short – tempered – Benvolio tries to diffuse a possible fight, “mad blood stirring.” When Tybalt enters he and Mercutio have a verbal speech where they both suggest that they are willing to fight. However when Romeo enters Tybalt exclaims, “here comes my man”, the man he wants to fight is Romeo. This could be because Mercutio is only a friend of the Montagues, while Romeo is actually part of the family whom Tybalt hates with all his heart.
Tybalt’s aggressive character and the fact that he loves to fight are reinforced as he provokes Romeo hoping that he will start a fight, “thou art a villain.” Throughout the play Tybalt represents violence and hatred. Tybalt’s strong emotion of hatred makes him end up killing Mercutio, and in turn getting killed himself. Tybalt was the man who showed the most hatred in the play, and was killed off because there was no longer a need for hatred, as it had already been established. The themes of love and hate dominate ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Each type of love is shown through different characters in the play, but either Romeo or Juliet are linked to them all. The Nurse and Mercutio represent sexual love with the use of sexual puns.
Romeo and Juliet often refer to sexual love, and spend one night of passion with each other. However at the beginning of the play Romeo is suffering from courtly love, and believes he is truly in love with Rosaline. This love is immediately forgotten as soon as he sees Juliet. Paris feels dutiful love for Juliet. He sees her as his possession. Juliet also feels dutiful towards her parents at the beginning of the play, but this soon changes as she falls in love with Romeo.
Family love is seen strongly through Romeo and his friends, but not so strongly between the two families. The main type of love in the play is the true love between Romeo and Juliet. They first fall in love at the Capulet’s party and their love blossoms throughout the play, leading to both Romeo and Juliet killing themselves so that they can be together. The hate between the two houses is due to a feud that has existed for many years. This hate is entwined with true love throughout the play, and is the main cause of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths..