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Discuss the different attitudes to love revealed in Romeo and Juliet - Examine the language used by the characters to discuss love - Are there any messages about love revealed in the play? Why does Shakespeare portray different types/aspects of love?

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Introduction

Sophia Moatti 3 GCSE1 English coursework Romeo and Juliet With close reference to the text, discuss the different attitudes to love revealed in Romeo and Juliet. Examine the language used by the characters to discuss love. Are there any messages about love revealed in the play? Why does Shakespeare portray different types/aspects of love? The words " Romeo and Juliet" conjure up images associated with true love; but the play explores many different views of love. Each character in the play has a different personality and view on life, therefore they perceive love in their own distinct way, adding a clear contrast to Romeo and Juliet's first love, which is true and pure. The first reference to an aspect of love is after the prologue and it refers to rape and therefore lust not love. The first two characters that the audience is introduced to are Sampson and Gregory. They are vulgar and crude making sexual references and innuendos. They do not see love as involving emotions or desires, but as a purely physical thing, sexual not emotional. Sampson refers to women as "weaker vessels" and tells of how he will rape the maids of the Montague household. " Women being the weaker vessels are ever trust to the wall, I will push Montague's men from the wall, and Thrust his maid to the wall". Both Sampson and Gregory have petty and narrow perceptions of love; neither of them appears to have ever experienced true love. They talk in a crude and coarse manner, brag about their own "attributes" and see women as objects not people. Like Sampson and Gregory, Mercutio considers love only in sexual terms rather than emotions. Mercutio is volatile and lively with an amazing imagination. He loves life and this is shown in his love for words and puns in his speech about Queen Mab. The speech starts by Mercutio portraying love as a very idealistic and dreamy thing: " She gallops night by night Through lovers' brains, and ...read more.

Middle

In the first act, Juliet feels that she must please her mother by obeying her every wish. However, as Lady Capulet has praise only for Paris the little daughterly love that Juliet has for her mother soon disappears. She sings the praises of Paris when she is informing Juliet of his desires. Lady Capulet describes Paris as "valiant" and tells Juliet that all his love needs is a cover, and the cover will be her. "Find written in the margent of his eyes This precious book of love, this unbound lover, To beautify him, only lacks a cover". She seems less interested about whether the couple love each other, and more concerned about how suitable he is. This was the attitude of the time and real love had nothing to do with marriage. Paris explains his feelings for Juliet to Capulet. It seems that Paris does love Juliet because when Romeo kills him he asks to be put in Juliet's tomb. "If thou tomb be merciful Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet." He has genuine emotions for Juliet and sis devastated when she dies. Paris is a good man who would be kind to Juliet, but she does not love him. Juliet's father however does seem to think that she would be happy with Paris. Capulet cares for Juliet, and she is a very special and precious possession to him. " Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she; She's the hopeful lady of my earth" Capulet wants the best for his daughter when Paris first explains his proposal: "But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart, And she agreed, within her scope of choice Lies my consent and fair according voice" Capulet then starts to push Juliet into the marriage instead of letting her choose. He says that he will only let his daughter marry Paris if she consents, but then turns against her when she declines the marriage later on in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare uses oxymorons with Juliet to express her feelings towards her love for her family's enemy. Many metaphors and similes are used through imagery. To show the extent and variety of love in the play, Shakespeare uses emotionally charged words and phrases that conjure up vivid pictures of love and hate in the imagination of the reader. Lady Capulet uses metaphor to describe Paris in hope that her daughter will fall for him: "Verona's summer hath not such a flower." There is also a lot of repetition, this is to intensify and dramatise the love in the play, Lady Capulet: "the county Paris, at saint Peter's church Shall happily make thee there a joyful wife. Juliet: "Now by saint Peter's church and Peter too, He shall not make me there a joyful bride." Shakespeare portrays different types of love to satisfy the wide range of different social classes that came to see his plays. All sorts of people came to see Shakespeare's plays, and he had to keep them all happy, bawdiness was for the lower classes. In the play I believe that family and marital love and of course true love are the most important types of love portrayed The play gives us the message that there is a great variety of love in society, as Shakespeare presentation of love varies from character to character. Some characters think only of sex, others demonstrate a form of love with their children, but the one true, pure love is that of Romeo and Juliet. Each character in the play provides a frame to their love, their attitudes contrasting with the real love of the young lovers. Romeo and Juliet share a special bond together that will never be lost. They make the greatest sacrifice for each other and this proves their love. " Romeo: Thus with a kiss I die" It is only because there are so many aspects of love in this play, and they are portrayed so beautifully through language, that it has become "the greatest love story ever told". ...read more.

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