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Examine the attitudes of Romeo & Juliet to each other in Acts 1 & 2 of Romeo & Juliet

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Introduction

Examine the attitudes of Romeo & Juliet to each other in Acts 1 & 2 of Romeo & Juliet Romeo & Juliet, one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, introduces the two main characters before they have even met - Romeo is unhappily in what he believes is love with Rosaline, and Juliet is being bartered over by her father and Paris, a wealthy nobleman who wants to marry her. It is perhaps slightly implausible that they have not met before, as they are each other's counterparts in the play - each the other family's only child, but this adds to the sense of destiny between them when they finally do meet, at a ball held by Juliet's father, Capulet. At the ball, Romeo is instantly attracted to Juliet - the first thing he says to her is what could be perceived as a lengthy medieval chat-up line, describing his lips as "blushing pilgrims" travelling towards the shrine of Juliet's hand, and that although just touching the her hand could defile that shrine, he could remedy that with a kiss. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning of Scene Two we find that the Montagues and Mercutio have left the party, but Romeo cannot "go forward when my heart is here" - the Capulet mansion. He climbs over the wall into the grounds of the Capulet house, much to the annoyance of Benvolio, and the mistaken mirth of Mercutio, who believes he has gone to spend the night with Rosaline. Meanwhile in the Capulet orchard Romeo spies on Juliet, wishing that she knew how much he loved her. He describes her eyes as "two of the fairest stars in all the heaven" and says that "her cheek would shame [the real] stars". Juliet sighs at the balcony, and Romeo waits for her to speak. "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" she asks - why are you Romeo, a Montague, and not some other name. "Deny thy father and refuse thy name" she pleads, "or if thou wilt not...I'll no longer be a Capulet". ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo assures her this is not the case, and, as she retires to bed, asks her for "Th' exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine". Soon follows talk of marriage, on the very night they have met. Soon it is morning, and, as promised, Juliet sends Nurse for Romeo. Unfortunately she is greeted by Mercutio, who insults her obscenely, and his rowdy ungentlemanliness contrasts perfectly with Romeo's polite and excited conversation with the nurse, telling her his plans for him to marry Juliet. Nurse warns him that if he should "deal double" with her, it would be a "gross kind of behaviour", and we see a glimpse of Nurse's relationship with Juliet, effectively her mother. Romeo and Juliet are secretly married by Father Lawrence, so happy with their lot and clandestine marriage. However, things soon go horribly as prophesied to us at the beginning, and we cannot look upon the married couple, unaware of the terrible fate that awaits them, without a huge amount of dramatic irony. ...read more.

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