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Does Shakespeare present a positive view of love in the play Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

Does Shakespeare present a positive view of love in the play Romeo and Juliet? The well-known play of the two lovers Romeo and Juliet is a fight between love for each other and respect for their families. In the time that the play was written it was common for marriage to be arranged by parents. If an aristocratic family had a daughter they would want her to marry into money so she would be able to lead a good life, as she would not be able to work for a living. If the family had a son they would not want him to marry out of his class or out of the families boundaries. This was one of the reasons why the love between these adolescence was so out of the ordinary and unlikely to work. The way in which Romeo woos Juliet is so quick. Falling in and out of love with Rosiline to Juliet so quickly allows the audience to believe that the love is that of appearance and not true. The contrast shown between Romeo's love for Rosiline and his love for Juliet is so extreme to the audience. This makes the tragedy at the end of the play has a larger affect on the audience. ...read more.

Middle

The Friar tells Romeo not to rush things with Juliet as he can see that only bad can come of this, but when Romeo asks him to marry them, he agrees. The Friar approves of their love and truly cares about what happens to Romeo and Juliet. At the end of the play we see him trying to persuade Juliet not to kill herself and then when she has he explains to everyone why he married them. In Act 2 Scene 3 Friar Lawrence and Romeo talk about Romeo's love for Juliet. The Friar can see that Romeo is rushing into this and can only end bad 'the stain doth sit' he compares Romeo's love to a stain which will not stay but fade over time. The Friar tries to convince Romeo that he is fickle and he criticises the haste of his relationship 'Of an old tear that is not wash'd off yet'. This scene shows the love to be positive, as it's the only thing that has been strong enough to break the feud. The scene also shows a negative side as it portrays the fickleness of Romeo's love and how he can chop and change his feelings with in the space of a few days. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo is understood by the audience at this time to be absolutely besotted by his love for Juliet. This scene shows love to be positive as it portrays the commitment Romeo has for Juliet but is also negative as it shows how love can lead to death 'unsubstantial death is amorous'. This explains in Romeo's own words that the death was caused by love. This scene makes the metaphor of Juliet being 'married to death'. The idea that that a sea wreck will always end in disaster 'The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!' this shows how the love is negative, 'a dateless bargain to engrossing death'. Shakespeare presents love in both a positive and negative way through the play. The fate and the bad luck encountered by the characters cannot be helped and makes the story more exciting whilst also making the tragedy build up to more of a crescendo at the end of the play when the lovers die. The idea that Shakespeare used as making fate into such a big part in the play making the love negative, as did the repercussions of the love on the rest of the families and friends of Romeo and Juliet. The way in which the love ended the on going feud was a positive consequence of the love, which was benefited by the families that had been impaired by the loss of their children. ...read more.

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