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GCSE Romeo and Juliet

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With close reference to the text explore Shakespeare's presentation of Romeo through reference to at least three key scenes. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an Elizabethan tragedy play, written in the sixteenth century. This is an important aspect to the play because terms like 'courtly lover' would have been initially understood by an audience of that time, whereas, at present, it is virtually unknown. The phrase 'courtly lover' was a way to describe Romeo in the beginning of the play. If a person was a courtly lover, they were usually in a false love with an older woman. In Romeo's case, Rosaline, an unobtainable Capulet woman. A courtly lover was a person who felt that they were in love, but was simply infatuated with a person who was beyond their reach. This immature description could be contrasted as Romeo develops throughout the play. From the beginning of the play Shakespeare shows Romeo to be rather immature and adolescent. His short-lived infatuation with Rosaline could be contrasted with a more genuine love for Juliet. Shakespeare makes it clear to his audience that the character of Romeo is shallow and disingenuous. He does this by depicting Romeo to be reveling in his own misery and despair. ...read more.


It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.' but it is questionable as to whether this is different and more genuine than before. By the end of this scene, Romeo and Juliet have agreed to marry. This is a way of Shakespeare showing that Romeo is willing to take responsibility for his feelings, as opposed to when his misery was simply about appearance. In Act 3, Scene 1, after Romeo and Juliet have been married by Friar Lawrence, Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, is looking to fight Romeo. Shakespeare shows Romeo's new found maturity in his will not to fight Tybalt. Romeo explains to him that he loves him, yet cannot say why, therefore he doesn't want to fight. Although Shakespeare shows Romeo's considerable change of character and new level of maturity, he also shows that Romeo can be erratic and spontaneous as he was before. Shakespeare does this through Romeo's killing of Tybalt for murdering Mercutio, a very close friend of Romeo's. Romeo's punishment for the murder of Tybalt was banishment, and at this point in the play, the audience may question whether Romeo has gone back to his immature self. Romeo's reaction to being banished from Verona is devastation. ...read more.


Through a lot of the play I noticed that Shakespeare's descriptions of Romeo are very ambivalent. This gives me the impression that Shakespeare wants his audience to draw their own conclusions from Romeo's behaviour. I drew the conclusion that through meeting Juliet, the character of Romeo quickly matured. He started to think of others rather than crave their attention. I realise that it is possible to come to the conclusion that Romeo is in another false love, but I noticed many differences in Romeo's character as the play progressed. For example, the rhyme Romeo uses in Act 1, Scene 1, like 'smoke made with the fume of sighs; and 'a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes', were all extremely forced. Romeo was looking for attention, but as the play progressed, I noticed that Romeo thought little in the way of attention for his feelings, but more about dealing with the problems he faced. Romeo's selfless final speech made me realise that he was thinking of Juliet, and doing what he truly thought was right, rather than trying to appear depressed, which shows, to me, that Romeo did change through meeting Juliet. Shakespeare's many devices clearly depicted Romeos thoughts and feelings throughout the play, and the variety of each type of device showed Shakespeare's ability to convey a character through many different perspectives. ...read more.

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