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Examine How Shakespeare Presents Love In a Variety of Forms in 'Romeo and Juliet'. Consider How Different Characters Interpret the Meaning and Importance of Love.

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Introduction

Matthew Mckittrick Highfield High School Mrs. Howcroft, 11XA Examine How Shakespeare Presents Love In a Variety of Forms in 'Romeo and Juliet'. Consider How Different Characters Interpret the Meaning and Importance of Love Today 'Romeo and Juliet' is considered one of the most popular and most famous love stories of all time. This is probably because of the many different types of love displayed in the play. I intend to study each of these types of love and examine the way in which they have been portrayed by William Shakespeare, who is thought to be the most famous playwright of all time The first and most obvious type of love is the romantic love between Romeo and Juliet. It is clear to the audience that they fell in love at first sight from their first words to each other that showed great romanticism and were spoken in a sonnet, which would have been easily recognized by Elizabethans as being a traditional expression of romantic love. Their love is fiercely passionate throughout the play and their adoration for each other is shown in many different ways. When Romeo first sees Juliet's beauty he says that "she teaches the torches to burn bright" and describes her as a "holy shrine." When Romeo leaves after their first meeting Juliet says "if he is married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed" and after the party she calls for him to come to her not knowing that he is already there and can hear what she is saying. ...read more.

Middle

Even the servant's in the opening scene are willing to fight for the honour of their respective family. "Draw thy tool, here come two of the house of Montague." Also willing to fight for some one's honour is Romeo's friend, Mercutio. When Tybalt angrily confronts Romeo, he backs down from the fight and offers Tybalt his friendship, which is aggressively rejected. Seeing that Romeo isn't going to stand up for himself Mercutio tries to defend him. Ultimately Mercutio's love for Romeo as a friend, lead to his death. Although the start of Mercutio's fight with Tybalt seemed to be in jest it was still an effort to defend the honour of his friend. When Mercutio dies he shouts "A plague on both your houses" referring to the Capulet's and Montague's for their hatred had eventually lead to his death. Another friend to Romeo was his cousin, Benvolio. He helped Romeo to overcome his unrequited love for Rosaline. Both Mercutio's and Benvolio's love for Romeo was of a protective nature. A different form of love shown by Mercutio is physical and 'anti-romantic'. This type of love is portrayed throughout Romeo and Juliet particularly by the young men. In conversations, the language used when talking about women is bawdy and lewd, they use aggressive terms; "thrust his maid to the wall" and they refer to love in a physical way. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!" Again in Elizabethan times it was also perfectly acceptable for richer families to employ a nurse to look after and raise their child. I think this has meant that Juliet's parents have had less involvement with her upbringing than usual. Juliet viewed her nurse as a second mother, in the same way; Romeo looked to the friar as a "spiritual father". Although his parents show an interest in his wellbeing, like Juliet's parents, I think Romeo's, had little involvement with his life and he sought advice and help from Friar Lawrence. Although the reasoning for the Friar and the Nurse helping the marriage was to bring the two families together, both the Nurse and the Friar can be seen to have failed to uphold the Elizabethan morals and expectations and maybe gave in too easily in conspiring to aid the marriage of Romeo and Juliet against the wishes of their parents. Love can take a variety of forms, as we see in 'Romeo and Juliet'. I think that the different types of love involved in the play all played a part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. I feel that the hatred felt between the two families was the underlying cause of their deaths and that it is a shame that it has taken the deaths of their two children for the two families to settle their differences and reconcile. Fortunately for the families the deaths of their children have encouraged them to reconcile. 1 ...read more.

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