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"Consider how and why Shakespeare uses natural images in Sonnet XVIII, "Shall I compare thee..." and act two, scene two, of "Romeo and Juliet".

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Introduction

Response to Shakespeare Coursework "Consider how and why Shakespeare uses natural images in Sonnet XVIII, "Shall I compare thee..." and act two, scene two, of "Romeo and Juliet". In my coursework I am going to analyse two works of Shakespeare, these will be Sonnet XVIII and Romeo and Juliet. Both of these poems show share similarities, the main one being the theme - love. In Sonnet XVIII, a man is talking about a woman, and is trying to find a comparison to her, that will do her beauty justice, whilst Romeo and Juliet follows a love story, between these two characters, it is a romantic play, which ends in tragedy. Another shared feature of both plays is Shakespeare's use of 'Natural Imagery'. This is a technique that is often used by writers, and is a favoured method of writing used by Shakespeare. Natural imagery is used in writing for description and/or comparison. In these two instances, it compares characters and feelings to that of nature. In Shakespeare's era, nature was enjoyed by most people, as it was all around them - it was something that everybody understood, Shakespeare used natural imagery as something that people could relate to - they knew that the Sun was warm, that the night was ...read more.

Middle

At the opening of this scene, the 'envious moon' is portrayed as a negative thing (the Sun is much more beautiful than the Moon, and only the Sun can conquer the Moon, by spreading light onto the night). At this point in the scene, the moon is again described negatively. Romeo tries to swear by the moon of his love for her. However Juliet then speaks, "O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon". The moon is forever changing; Juliet wants their love for each other to stay the same; they are already feeling true love for each other, why would they want that to change? Juliet now speaks of how quick their meeting has been, "too like the lightening," she describes it as. Lightening is quick but beautiful, just like their meeting. It is also bright and powerful, like their love for each other. However lightning also symbolises danger, it is destructive, just like their relationship. The meeting that they have just had is the beginning of all of this: they declare their love for each other and so the destruction of their lives begins, their love is quick but beautiful. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, I have found a lot of natural imagery in both of the works that I have read. In Romeo and Juliet, the natural imagery is used mainly to compare the feelings they have for each other to nature. However, the way it is used is very ironic - almost every use of natural imagery has a double meaning, e.g. "Rose", Juliet means this to be beautiful, however it also shows how, just like a rose, their love will begin, flourish, and eventually die. At the time of the meeting that Romeo and Juliet have, they are not aware of the tragedy that is about to occur. In Sonnet XVIII, the natural imagery is used to compare beauty. It is used to show how beautiful the woman is, as she is portrayed better than nature, or "a summer's day". This poem seems to be negative throughout, but is, in fact, just reflecting upon how beautiful the woman in the poem actually is. I can see from both of these texts that natural imagery is an effective way to describe thoughts, feelings, and things. The audience of the time would have easily been able to relate to each of the natural images that Shakespeare presented to them. ...read more.

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