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Explore Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliets love now and in the 1950's

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Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Romeo and Juliet's love. What is it about the lovers and their situation which engages audiences' sympathy, both now and in the 1590's? Romeo and Juliet's love is very passionate, strong, exciting, young and inspiring; this is partly why anyone observing the play would feel very strongly towards the thoughts and feelings of the characters on stage. I think Romeo and Juliet's love appeals to the audience like this because of the language of the play and the period it is set in. The mood is very overly romantic and this, because of the idea of courtly love, makes the audience respond to the story line like they would to the take-your-breath-away love of fairy tales. I also think the way the lovers are portrayed and the situations that they are thrust into is very realistic, they are of 'ill-fate', none of the obstacles that are put in their path are their fault; all they wish to do is be together, and this really helps the audience connect and feel sympathetic towards them both now and in the 1590's. Shakespeare gives the plot away at the beginning of the play in the prologue and so there are no surprises, this makes you focus a lot more on the characters situations. I think Shakespeare deliberately did this to put across to the audience just how unlucky the couple are right from the outset of the play. ...read more.


Juliet is very passionate but she also thinks that all the decisions they have made is too rash: 'It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, too like the lightening, which doth cease to be' This shows that even though they are very much caught up in their love they are also not unaware of how badly influenced their lives are by 'ill-fate'. The image, which is also quite intense and destructive, is ominous as it suggests that Romeo and Juliet's love will burn out soon. Even Romeo has a premonition of doom hanging in the near future: "I fear too early, for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars" Romeo again describes Juliet with light and brilliance but he also speaks of love giving him wings to overcome any obstacles: "with Love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls, For stony limits cannot hold love out." Shakespeare uses alliteration to emphasise the image here. This quote is quite forbidding as this is exactly what happens to the lovers in the play. If the 'stony limits' that Romeo describes are representing life then the quote can be taken to mean that, in the end love conquers Romeos life. He dies so that his love can live on with Juliet when they are both dead. I think this is one of the images that does show a lot of meaning to the audience, as it would be seen today as quite melodramatic to end your own life just because your lover had died. ...read more.


The fact that their love is always mixed with some form of hate or death would have been considered by a more medieval audience as, again, a form of fate. I think the series of events would have been considered much more acceptable back then. Now, however, it seems rather extreme. I think, though, that the impact is just the same as it was then if not slightly stronger. Mainly because of how radical it seems now. The idea of being able to love someone so much or to be in love with someone so much that you would literally give your life and heart to them is considered the highest of all romantic things you could do, if not slightly drastic. I think both audiences would have been as equally moved by the ending of the play as the other. Both would have sensed a terrible loss of innocence and beauty when the lovers die mostly because it was such an undeserved fate. In a modern day theatre the audience is genuinely upset. Most are speechless and silent, some even succumbing to tears. I cannot say what an audience's reaction in a 1590's theatre would have been but I imagine it was much the same. Other characters in the play tell of their verdict on the young couple's death, including the Prince: "For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." I think many are of the same opinion. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework Charlotte Greenhow - Whitaker 10P ...read more.

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