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Amongst other things, 'Romeo and Juliet' gives us a clear picture of the attitudes to love and marriage in Shakespeare's day. How different is this to today's attitudes and does it hinder our appreciation of the play?

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Introduction

English Essay. Q) Amongst other things, 'Romeo and Juliet' gives us a clear picture of the attitudes to love and marriage in Shakespeare's day. How different is this to today's attitudes and does it hinder our appreciation of the play? Attitudes towards love and marriage have changed greatly throughout time. Different traditions, morals and personal beliefs have become more apparent in today's attitudes. William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' portrays perhaps the most vivid view of love ever written, and shows us clearly the views of love in the sixteenth century. The idea of love is complicated to come to terms with, but it is my belief that the feeling of love today has not changed at all from Shakespeare's day. I believe it can still be as vivid and passionate as it was when the play was written. Love perhaps is not so strong an issue as marriage is, as it is a feeling and not a subject, therefore love cannot be changed. Marriage on the other hand, today, is left down to free will in most cases, and has a lot less to do with economic well-being and social status. This is not always the case as this is a westernised idea, in most eastern countries and some religions, arranged marriage is still common. ...read more.

Middle

Later, Mercutio compares Romeo to a male deer - 'Without his roe, like a dried herring'. This shows that Mercutio believes that, Romeo without love in his life, may as well be dead. He believes that Romeo has nothing to live for if love does not exist in his life. Mercutio also states - 'why is this not better now than groaning for love?' Mercutio believes that although love can be important in people's lives, it can also bring out the worst in them and make them unsociable. Another quote from Act one Scene four that shows Mercutio's view of love is - 'You burthen love, too great oppression for such a tender thing'. This shows that Mercutio views love as a tender thing and a feeling that cannot be changed or tampered with. The last quote that proves Mercutio's attitude to love is - 'love is like a great natural, that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole' - In this case, Mercutio is challenging Romeo's interpretation that he is in love by saying that love is changeable and in his opinion, true love is hard to find. Juliet perhaps shares similar views to both, the nurse, and Mercutio. ...read more.

Conclusion

The different attitudes to love and marriage in the play, for me, do not really hinder our appreciation of the play, but make it that little bit more exciting and enjoyable to read. I feel that, although love is the main theme in the book, there is so much more to appreciate. From the humour in the nurse's and Mercutio's speeches to the dramatic fight scenes, that make us appreciate the play a little bit more. The fact that the attitudes to love and marriage have changed over time does not hinder our appreciation of the play, instead it allows us to see different points of view on the matters. However, the story is meant to be about love, which Shakespeare does through showing the lengths that some people may go to for love, (although at times they may seem, unrealistic to us). He does not only show this through the eccentric Romeo, but through the sonnets that other characters recite during the play. This I feel, on top of every other aspect of the play, rules out the fact that attitudes to love and marriage were different in the sixteenth century, and does not hinder our appreciation of the play, as there is so much more to appreciate. Robert Smith 10NTA ...read more.

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