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Examine the different views of love presented in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, discussing the dramatic reasons for their inclusion.

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework Assignment: The Shakespeare Unit Examine the different views of love presented in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, discussing the dramatic reasons for their inclusion Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet entire play is structured on love and hate. These are binary opposites, and contrast with each other, making love appear even more beautiful and tragic when contrasted with hate. Hate is shown via the "ancient grudge" which breaks "to new mutiny", the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. The other main theme, perhaps intertwining love and hate together, is fate. This is shown in the Prologue, with the phrase "star-crossed lovers", implying something predestined for Romeo and Juliet. To illuminate the aspect of fate further, in the Prologue, it should be noted that the language has been set out so love and hate are balanced perfectly; there are exactly the same number of lines talking of love as there are of hate. Fate is shown even more noticeably by revealing the result of the play before it has even started, giving the impression that the characters' fates have already been decided. There are numerous types of love shown throughout Romeo and Juliet, all designed to contrast with each other: 'fashionable' love, romantic and unromantic love, spiritual love, sexual love, passionate love and moderate love. Each character has his or her own view of love, which is similar to a mirror so that one can look at other views of love shown by other characters. Not only this, but the types of love are juxtaposed and held in tension until the end of the play, so we can make a decision for ourselves as to which love we believe is true. We can then answer Shakespeare is posing for us - what the power of love is, and what its real value is. The first type of love is Romeo's 'fashionable' love for Rosaline. ...read more.

Middle

By saying this, he means that life without Juliet is empty, torturous and essentially hell. Even after the Friar's sharp scolding, Romeo explains his plight by saying that flies, rats and other "unworthy" creature can look upon Juliet while he cannot. While many see this as hasty and showing a lack of forethought, especially when Romeo offers to kill himself it reveals the irreversible nature of his love, and the fact that he would rather die than be without Juliet. This contrasts with his love for Rosaline, where he seems to his friends to be in a permanent "purgatory" even though he can see her and look at her. It is through his love for Juliet that he is reduced to tears, at which Friar Lawrence calls him "womanish". Once Friar Lawrence reminds Romeo that there is still a change he may see Juliet, his mood changes completely; he becomes much happier and no longer cries like a child. All this reflects the deep, passionate and loyal love he has for Juliet. Nearer the beginning of the play, Juliet, who is not yet awakened to any of the forms of love, being only thirteen, responds casually about love and marriage that it is something that she dreams "not of" and says that she will "look to like, if looking liking move". She will look at Paris at the party, and if she does like him, she will not involve herself beyond the stage of liking to which her parents have given consent. In stark contrast, only a few scenes later, Juliet encounters her romantic awakening to love with Romeo at the party. The Sonnet, where she first talks to Romeo, shows the first bond of irreversible love between them, and effectively encourages Romeo to kiss her when she says "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake". Dramatic irony is shown when she falls for Romeo without even knowing his name and does recognise this as a prodigious birth of love which is 'unnatural'. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also contrasts it in other ways, with Lord and Lady Capulet being old while Romeo and Juliet being young, for example, bringing together two binary opposites for further contrast and essentially, to show how their unromantic love is a foil to romantic love. Another view of love, shared this time by Mercutio and the Nurse, is a sexual, lustful, physical view of love. This is shown first near the beginning of the play with the Nurse, whose speeches are full of bawdy punning and comments. She talks of how Juliet, when young, fell forwards, and how her husband, comments on how she will learn to fall backwards in a sexual manner. Other trivial phrases and puns, such as "lady-bird", "women grow by men" and "seek happy days to happy nights" are littered constantly throughout her speeches, showing her heavy preoccupation with sex. Her fickle attitude is shown throughout the book, as she is constantly advising Juliet to continue her relationships with different people. This is shown most obviously when she tells Juliet to forget about Romeo, whom she had previous advised Juliet to stay with, and marry Paris as he is "a lovely gentlemen". This shows that she does not really have much regard for loyalty or emotional love, and much like Lord and Lady Capulet, sees love as a matter of convenience. Mercutio has similar views to the Nurse, but with more cynical, harsh overtones. He mocks Romeo's feelings, calling him with words such as "Madman! Passion! Lover!" to trivialise his love for her. He uses constant punning and witty phrases when talking with Romeo, and believes Romeo's love for Rosaline is pure lust. Incidentally, he never finds about his true love for Juliet. When describing Rosaline, only her physical and sexual attributes are described, talking of her "quivering thigh", "scarlet lip" and "high forehead". Incredibly crude language is used in this passage, talking of "raising a spirit" into Rosaline's "circle...Till she had laid it". Later on in the book, when he has a verbal 'joust' with Romeo, he talks of a "wild goose-chase" and "sharp source". ...read more.

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