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How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in Rome & Juliet?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare explore the theme of love in Rome & Juliet? The central theme of Romeo and Juliet is love. Although Shakespeare explores many themes throughout the play such as hatred (of the two families), violence (that occurs between them) and murder (when Romeo kills Tybalt), love is outwardly the dominant and most significant theme because the entire play is based upon a relationship between two people. At the time of Shakespeare, A couple wouldn't marry just because of love. Arranged marriages were very usual for wealthy and prosperous families (e.g. Montague and Capulet). Arranged marriages would secure their wealth and there allegiance. In Shakespeare's time, people would marry at very young ages (i.e. Juliet who got married at the age of 13), which helps to elucidate the unusual nature of love. A prologue introduces the story in the form of a sonnet (14 lines of poetry), which is split into 3 sections and usually ends in a rhyming couplet (attend...mend). It gives a synopsis of the play. The Antithesis between love and hate pervades Romeo and Juliet, fixed in the action, Juxtaposition of certain scenes and recurrent use of oxymoron. The prologue is a prime example of Antithesis. Line 1 says: "Two households, both alike in dignity". This first line describes the two families being as noble and dignified as each other. Line 6-7 says: "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows". These lines imply that a boy from a family and a girl from a different family fall in love but ill-fated tragic calamity overthrows into catastrophic deaths. ...read more.

Middle

Tybalt has excessive detestation and abhorrence for the Montague's. Romeo says: "I do protest I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou can'st devise. Till thou shalt know the reason of my love". Romeo feels that his marriage to Juliet (A Capulet) has made him a member of Tybalt's family but Tybalt clearly disagrees because of his tremendous family loyalty . This is another example of family relationships that Shakespeare has explored. In Act 1 Scene 3, Lady Capulet commends Paris and gives Juliet influential and convincing causes for marrying him. Juliet ends up considering Paris as a probable husband. Lady Capulet says: "Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face". Lady Capulet speaks high of Paris as she tries persuading Juliet to marry Paris. She uses words like "young" and "volume". This is an example of an extended metaphor. Paris has deep feeling for Juliet but lacks the passion that animates Romeo. Friar Laurence is a kind-hearted cleric who helps Romeo and Juliet throughout the play. He is the sole figure of religion in the play. Shakespeare here uses paternal and fatherly love. He marries Romeo and Juliet as part of a plan to end the civil strife in Verona. He devises a plan to reunite Romeo and Juliet using sleep potion. Friar Lawrence is clearly trying to aid Romeo and Juliet. The Friar says: "Come, come with me, and we will make short work; For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone". Not only as the Friar shown interest in helping but has also shown love for Romeo. This is because he hides Romeo in his cell and advises them frequently. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play ends in a very dramatic and shocking way, which creates a tremendous impact on the audience mainly because the two victims who love each other deeply end up being victims of death. I think that at the end of the play, the audience would feel sympathetic for the two lovers as well as stunned to how everything happened so quick. I think that this play has become a classic play across the world because it is a very symbolic play and shows the true meaning of deep love. It helps people to understand fate and what love can do. But overall, I think that people don't usually expect such a dramatic and sudden end to the main characters. In ordinary plays, the main characters usually live on where in Romeo and Juliet, they both die. I get the impression that love is the seventeenth century was much more diverse than love nowadays. Love was usually something that builds up during a relationship that had started at a very young age. Wealthy people would marry other wealthy people to secure their wealth and reputation therefore marriage wasn't always in the name of love. In my personal opinion, I think that Shakespeare tries to subconsciously tell us that love that is too passionate or too deep can lead into disasters. He tries to tell us not to love too much and keep it controlled. Shakespeare does a very good job in making his message very straightforward and direct. He could have just let the characters split up for ever but he decided to end the play in death emphasizing his point. But ultimately, I think that love has mended the hate, bringing the families to a point reflection and reconciliation. Ali Hammuda Top of Form ...read more.

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