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Discuss love and marriage in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Discuss love and marriage in Romeo and Juliet Discuss the presentation of the themes of love and marriage in "Romeo and Juliet" Love and marriage are key themes that run throughout "Romeo and Juliet". The opinions of these two topics differ from each character. Shakespeare based "Romeo and Juliet" on an earlier poem by Arthur Brooke, "Romeus and Juliet". The opinions of the authors about the subjects of love and marriage differ and it is shown in their writing. Brooke condemned the conduct of Romeo and Juliet in a prose address at the beginning of his book, describing them as: "A couple of unfortunate lovers, thralling themselves to unhonest desire, neglecting the authority and advise of parents...attempting all adventures of peril for the attaining of their wished lust (and) abusing the honourable name of marriage..." On the other hand Shakespeare took a more gentle approach and was sympathetic to the lover's plight as by the end of the play we only feel sorry for the lovers whom had to battle against their obstructive families. In this play it seems as if love is doomed from the start by the society full of hate in Verona. The whole play could have been based on the oxymoron "loving hate", as love will always win over hate. From the very beginning of the play love is condemned and in the prologue all references to love are described with death: "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" Act1 sc1 8 "The fearful passage of death-marked love" Act1 sc1 9. There are always interruptions in the love scenes because hate is the backdrop. ...read more.

Middle

Give me my sin again." Act1 sc5 107-109 Parental love runs through the play especially in Act one as Juliet's father shows a more protective love for his daughter. Capulet shows he cares for the feelings of Juliet when he says to Paris that he will only agree to the marriage if Juliet consents: "My will to he consent is but a part; And she agreed, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice." Act1 sc2 17-19 This parental sensitivity on the part of Capulet shows that he truly cares about Juliet, as she is all he has left making her truly precious to him. At this point in the play he gives Juliet a choice and wants her to be loved by telling Paris to win her heart: "But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart." Act1 sc2 16 Though later on in the play he bullies and threatens, cursing his daughter when she refuses the proposal of marriage to Paris. "Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell thee what, get thee to church o' Thursday, Or never after look me in the face." Act3 sc5 160-163 Lady Capulet shows a love for her daughter but it is very distant, as she has not looked after Juliet for much of her daughter's life. At that time there was a social tradition in the higher classes to have a wet nurse. It would not have been fashionable for noble ladies to feed their own infants. Instead they would give the baby to a peasant woman who had recently given birth and who had plenty of healthy milk in her breasts. ...read more.

Conclusion

Act2 sc1 33-36 In most of his speech in act two, scene one we are reminded of Romeo's previous passion for Rosaline whom he worshipped as a goddess. Mercutio's own attitude to women is a complete contrast; there is no emotion only sexual desire. He jokes and is sarcastic to Romeo saying: "You are a lover, borrow Cupid's wings," Act1 sc4 17 He has no time for sentiments and his Queen Mab speech is a perfect example of his scepticism of love. He says that she does bad things to women who dream of kisses - "with blisters plague". Later in the play Romeo sums up Mercutio when saying that he has never been in love yet mocks it: "He jests at scars that never felt a wound" Act2 sc2 1 The love between Romeo and Mercutio was very special. Mercutio, although he loves to fight, was also defending Romeo's good name in the dual against Tybalt. Therefore when Mercutio is slain Romeo returns that regard for his friend, for a moment forgetting his bride, and attacks her cousin in vengeance for the death of his friend. "Alive in triumph! And Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respective lenity, And fire-ey'd fury be my conduct now!" Act3 sc1 122-124 With the language and characters Shakespeare uses he manages to get a kaleidoscope of views spanning extremities and so making the reader ultimately feel sympathetic for the two lovers. Using these very different characters the play is motivated by using love to conquer hate. We find in "Romeo and Juliet" love will always win and at the end of Act one, scene five the chorus tells us this: "But passion lends them power, time means, to meet, Temp'ring extremities with extreme sweet." Act1 sc5 156-157 ...read more.

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