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Comment on the various sorts of love shown in Romeo and Juliet. How does Shakespeare use language to reinforce these feelings?

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Introduction

Comment on the various sorts of love shown in Romeo and Juliet. How does Shakespeare use language to reinforce these feelings? Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy based around a pair of young lovers. The play is set in 12th century Verona where a pair of families, the Capulet's and the Montague's have been feuding for many years. The play revolves around Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet falling deeply in love and the events that befall these two forbidden lovers. The play covers an array of different types of love and love related issues from brotherly love to bodily lust, Shakespeare uses the characters to portray stereotyped ideas of love and how it affects people. Before even the first scene is out, the play has already touched upon the idea of brotherly love. Benvolio, the cousin of Romeo, finds Romeo in a state of near depression and says to Romeo 'What sadness lengthens Romeos hours'? With this line Shakespeare is showing Benvolio's concern as a man might unto his brother. Romeo is sad because he has fallen in love with a girl, Rosaline 'In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman.' However Romeo's chosen spouse does not return the affection, as Romeo states 'She will not stay the siege of loving terms'. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet however responds by saying 'Conceit, more rich in matter than in words, Brags of his substance, not of ornament; They are but beggars that can count their worth, But my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.' What Juliet is saying here is that unlike Romeo she cannot sum up her love for him in words. Shakespeare uses strong negative imagery such as 'beggars' and 'conceit' to display Juliet's exasperation with Romeos continuing usage of needless ornate speech. But despite Juliet's doubts and Romeo's misleading words there is an overwhelming love between the pair that cannot go unnoticed. Even upon their first meeting Romeo's feelings for Juliet are obvious 'Did my heart love till now?' He directs this phrase at Juliet before the two have even met. Yet when they do at last meet Juliet shares with Romeo not one but two kisses, the second induced by Juliet 'Then have my lips the sin that they have took' These shows of affection in the time in which the play was written would be unheard of upon a first meeting. This shows just how the pair truly epitomise the phrase 'Love at first sight' for they did not let the fact that they were total strangers hinder the strength of their feelings even if the feeling was simply lust. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet not all Shakespeare's characters believed in such an 'honourable' love. In his opening scene there are two servant men talking between themselves, there speech although on the topic of fighting generally is rife with sexual innuendo and pun. For example 'Ay, the heads of maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt' This line seemingly innocent to the reader of our time has a very rude meaning in Shakespearian language where 'maidenhead' means virginity, in this sense the two are talking of having sex with virgins, more than a little less noble than the good Paris. They speak also of pushing women to the wall because of their weaker build; this all shows little true emotion and a very physically sexual type of 'love ' if indeed it can be referred to as that at all. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was a revolutionary piece when it was written because it showed just how love can move people in an age where marriage for social or financial gain was the norm. Over nearly five hundred years Shakespeare's language and story line has captivated the hearts and minds of generations of lovers with its unique mixture of reality and fantasy. Romeo and Juliet is one piece of Shakespeare's work that will remain a true timeless classic. ...read more.

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