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An Exploration of the ways Shakespeare dramatises the teenage experience in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

English HWK An Exploration of the ways Shakespeare dramatises the teenage experience in Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare's portrayal of teenage experience in Romeo and Juliet is one of the most well known and often imitated in existence, and this is because of how well he captures some of it's aspects - the idea of first love, isolation and rebellion - but with enough melodrama and exaggeration to make it the basis for entertainment on stage. Despite being written nearly half a millennia ago, Shakespeare's play is still studied in schools today because so much of the subject matter is still relevant - the star crossed lovers are as much at home in modern Miami in Baz Luhrman's film adaptation as they are in feudal Verona - and while the details may have changed, Romeo and Juliet would lead us to conclude that teenage experience in particular has many of the same elements now as it did in Shakespearean times. Romeo and Juliet are a pair of love-struck teenagers trapped between their desire to be together and the long and bloody feud between their families. ...read more.

Middle

After he meets Juliet the language he uses changes, and becomes far less coarse and less fraught with innuendo - later, they talk in sonnet and rhyme each other's lines in order to show there is a deeper connection between them. As they share their first kiss, both Romeo and Juliet's speech becomes rich with religious imagery "For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers kiss" presenting their love here as something spiritual and sacred, and after the kiss Romeo even says "my sin is purged", likening it to a divine and religious experience. The idea of love is shown from a completely different perspective in act one scene two, as Capulet and Count Paris discuss arranging a marriage between him and Juliet. Capulet shows a level of kindness and understanding which he seems to lose later in the play, as he says it is Juliet's decision whether she marries and that it would be a mistake for her to marry so young, "too soon marred are those early made" although this could mean spoiled by childbirth, increasing the degree to which Juliet is treated like an object in the conversation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nay, bigger! Women grow by men." She is a role model for Juliet and gives her advice and counsel, but her irresponsibility is shown when after goading Juliet on with her relationship with Romeo and facilitating their marriage, following Romeo's exile she completely changes her mind and advises Juliet to marry Paris: "Since the case stands as now it doth, I think it best you married with the County" She realises she has made a mistake encouraging Juliet and had not fully thought about the consequences. Romeo shares a similar relationship with Friar Lawrence, except more of one of two close friends than a father and son. Romeo is never on stage with either of his parents at any time during the play; his absence demonstrates both an inability to communicate and show of teenage rebellion. He rejects them and the society and responsibilities they represent in favour of the Friar's advice - which while often more sensible than the Nurse's and driven by his naivet´┐Ż in hoping to unite the families by encouraging Romeo and Juliet to marry, is still irresponsible. ...read more.

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