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Discuss the types of Love evident in 'Romeo and Juliet.' What do you think Shakespeare is saying about the Theme of Love?

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Introduction

Discuss the types of Love evident in 'Romeo and Juliet.' What do you think Shakespeare is saying about the Theme of Love? From the beginning of the play, namely the prologue, it is evident that 'Romeo and Juliet' will revolve around two themes: love and tragedy. In Act 1 Scene 1 Romeo says, 'Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.' The chorus also introduces us to the idea of 'a pair of star crossed lovers' taking their life. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to allow his audience to concentrate on the events leading up to the tragedy, rather than the actual tragedy itself. In this case, we are warned of 'the fearful passage of their death-marked love.' This dramatic irony also allows the audience to focus on the other main theme of the play, love, and to contrast very different forms of love with the one main passion, that of Juliet and Romeo. The prologue is written in the form of a sonnet, traditionally a love poem. This serves to create a romantic atmosphere from the opening scene. Thus it is unexpected that the first reference to love in the play is entirely sexual. The first two characters we meet are Sampson and Gregory, two Capulet servants. They are vulgar and crude, making many sexual references and innuendoes. They do not see love as involving emotions or desires, but as a purely physical commodity, sexual not emotional. Sampson tells of how he will rape the maids of the Montague household: "Women being the weaker vessels are ever thrust to the wall ... ...read more.

Middle

She does not seem to have much part in Juliet's life, apart from in Act 4 Scene 5 when she sees Juliet dead. She cries "O me, O me, my child, my only life. Revive, look up, or I will die with thee" This contrasts completely with her attitudes towards Juliet in the rest of the play. After the argument between Juliet and her parents about marriage to Paris, Lady Capulet does not express much anger or disappointment, but dismissal and disconcern, which I think is even colder than Lord Capulets hurtful insults. "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word, Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee." Lady Capulet and Juliet talk to each other very formally, Juliet addressing her mother as 'Madam', whereas she addresses her father as 'Good father.' Lady Capulet thinks of love as marriage - a social accessory. She therefore thinks Paris is an ideal match for her daughter as he is rich, popular and has a high place in society. It is this type of quality that she values in her 'lovers.' Like the nurse, she thinks it is highly important that marriage improves social status and probably does not actually love her husband. She does want Juliet to be happy, but believes that having a wealthy husband is the only way to do this. She is quite shallow and does not see behind social lines, believing that image given to outsiders is more important that comfort. ...read more.

Conclusion

With Mercutio, he uses sexual, crude and imaginative imagery to show his charcters perceptions of love. With Lady Capulet, he emphasises marriage and status in society, showing how she loves her reputation more than she loves her own daughter, and with Romeo and Juliet, he uses imagery of heaven, showing that the two are lucky to experience this sort of love, and that it is rare. He brings humour into the play with the characters of the Nurse and Mercutio, and the joking seems to diminish after Mercutios death, the turning point in the play. The contrast between Romeo and Juliet's love, and the other types of love evident in the play, is used to emphasise the strength of Romeo and Juliet's love for each other. For example, Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline causes him to shut light out of his bedroom, and pine under sycamore groves. His ornate, and over - elaborate language is excessive, and his overuse of oxymoron and metaphor shows that Romeo's love for Rosaline is not genuine. This contrasts with his love for Juliet, in which Romeo's language is ornate but not excessive. It is decorative, romantic and genuine. He believes what he says. Scenes in which Mercutio or the Nurse express their sex - based attitudes to love are either before or after a scene in which Romeo and Juliet share special love. Shakespeare uses these contrasting attitudes to love to remind us of how special, heavenly and romantic the love shared between Romeo and Juliet is. Emily Hallam 10s 1 ...read more.

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