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Explore Shakespeare's Presentationof the Theme of Love in "Romeo & Juliet". Consider the Different Types of Love and the Language Used to Present These.

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Introduction

Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of the Theme of Love in "Romeo & Juliet". Consider the Different Types of Love and the Language Used to Present These. In this essay, I will illustrate the ways in which Shakespeare incorporates a cleverly blended mixture of love and death into Romeo and Juliet. I will also consider the various forms of love, alongside other emotions that make Romeo and Juliet so emotive, and the language used to present these themes. I will now illustrate the inextricable link between love and death. Even before the drama unfolds, Shakespeare links love and death in the prologue, where he suggests that the death of the two lovers was pre-ordained in the stars: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;" (Prologue, lines 5-6) The phrase "star-crossed" means against fate - fate was thought to be controlled by the stars, and "star-crossed lovers" means they aren't supposed to be together. They probably died because they went against fate. After Romeo and Juliet's marriage, Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel, but Romeo declines: Tybalt is family now. ...read more.

Middle

Mercutio cleverly plays on his words here, using "prick" as both the slang for penis and meaning a very small point (i.e. "the prick of noon" = It's exactly noon). He later accuses the nurse of being a "bawd" which is someone who makes a profit from prostitution, after she ask for "young Romeo". This is also insulting to Romeo; Mercutio is suggesting that Romeo is being 'sold' as a rent boy by the nurse. This type of lust is mainly used for comic value. Also used in the play is Romantic love. This is almost the opposite of lust, but is still a very dominant emotion. Unlike lust, romantic love is depicted in a good light. However, it can also be blasphemous. For instance when Juliet refers to Romeo as a "God of [her] idolatry", at the time this play is set this could have been offensive to some people because a majority of people were very strong Catholics in Medieval Italy. Romance is very frequently used in Romeo and Juliet because that's what the story is about. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was partially used for poetic flow, but would have been an acceptable form in which to speak. On a deeper level, the language used by Romeo to describe Juliet and by Juliet to describe Romeo is based largely upon objects of beauty such as the stars, heaven and God: "Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return." "...swear by thy gracious self, Which is the God of my idolatry..." In the first quote, Romeo compares the twinkle in Juliet's eyes to stars, and says that her eyes are so twinkly and bright that they could easily stand replacement for two of them. The second comment is Juliet comparing Romeo to a God. In Catholicism, idolatry isn't permitted because they believe that an idol would draw attention away from loving and praising God. So for Juliet to call Romeo both a God and an idol is extremely sacrilegious. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses a well-balanced mixture of good and bad forms of love, but tips the scales emotionally by always mixing love and death. This association between love and death ultimately turns the play from a romantic drama into a tragedy. Joe Rawson 5/2/2007 - 1 - ...read more.

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