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Analyse the Theme of Love in Romeo and Juliet and Compare the Attitudes of people then to nowadays .  Discuss how Shakespeare uses language to highlight the Contrasts in Attitudes between the Characters in the Play.

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Analyse the Theme of Love in Romeo and Juliet and Compare the Attitudes of people then to nowadays. Discuss how Shakespeare uses language to highlight the Contrasts in Attitudes between the Characters in the Play The main theme in Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is that of love. Shakespeare uses various ways to display the theme of love, notably in the characters varied attitudes towards love and also the different language devices in the play. Characters attitudes towards love are sometimes developed and changed throughout the play, allowing for Shakespeare to show more opinions of love that may have been common in his day. From the play it is noticeable that actions and attitudes towards love have changed since the time of Shakespeare. One example of this is courtly love. This is a style of love that is little known nowadays but is evident from the play that was a common idea in the days of Shakespeare. Courtly love was an accepted fact of life, it was love from a distance, usually from a male to a female that was unobtainable, usually from marriage or a higher socio-economic class. This still happens today but it is not normally displayed publicly, whereas in Elizabethan times the accepted thing to do was make a big fuss and sulk around a lot, making a lot of noise and letting a lot of people know about it. ...read more.


To make his point and show that he is confused he uses a technique which was being used by a lot of poets who wrote about love at the time, he uses oxymorons. These are contradictions within sentences. For example: "o brawling love, o loving hate" A1 S1 L175 "O heavy lightness, serious vanity" A1 S1 L177 "She is fair, too wise; wisely too fair" Romeo's attitude towards Rosaline possibly has a sexual element to it "Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold" A1 S1 L213 This could be because he does not know her any better and all he can see are her physical attractions which means he only wants her for her body. Romeo also compares his love towards Rosaline with night time, blindness and darkness, creating an image of darkness and negative thoughts. "Being black...blind...forgot...The precious treasure of his eyesight lost" A1 S1 L230-234 From this we see that Romeo, at this point, sees love as a pain and as a bad thing that is more like an illness than anything else. Later on in the play Romeo still compares love to darkness and night when he has met Juliet and he has gone to her house but he contradicts the images of darkness: "It is the east, and Juliet is the Sun Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon Who is already sick and ...read more.


Juliet loves and respects her parents as was expected at the time. As she develops and grows up throughout the play she goes against the culture of the day and defies her parents as she loves Romeo so much. At this point she expects no love from her parents but does not really care as she has Romeo's love. Benvolio on the other hand does not see women and relationships in the same way that Romeo does. Benvolio believes that women are interchangeable and disposable. He believes that there should be no grief at the end of a relationship and that you should just move on. Paris and Lady Capulet both believe in love in appearance. Paris believes that Juliet is his property. He sees her death as a bad thing because he is very selfish and is only concerned about himself. The nurse and the other servants see love as a bawdy, lustful, sexual thing. They keep this attitude no matter what company they are in, which discomforts all of the higher class characters around them and helps to lighten the mood, especially after very serious times. This also helps break up the play and keep the audience interested. "My naked weapon is out" A1 S1 L33 "women being the weaker vessels are thrust to the wall" A1 S1 L15 ...read more.

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