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How does Shakespeare portray the character of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare portray the character of Romeo in 'Romeo and Juliet'? Romeo is one of the main characters. In 'Romeo and Juliet', Romeo is portrayed very differently throughout the play, as Shakespeare wants the audience to see the development and changes in Romeo's personality. Shakespeare uses different techniques such as imagery, metaphors and oxymoron, alliteration and the sonnet form, which makes Romeo a unique character in the play. Romeo is shown throughout the play to be an impulsive and confused young man, who is caught up in the powers of fate. Moreover, he deadly (for him Juliet is more precious than his own life) falls in love with young Juliet and their love tragically ends. At the beginning of the play all Romeo does is talk about his love for Rosaline and how she does not even acknowledge him for his efforts. In Act 1, Scene 1, Shakespeare portrays Romeo's character as a lovesick person receiving nothing in return. Romeo says: "Loves is bright smoke, cold fire, sick health." This shows how confusing love is for him. Shakespeare used the oxymorons 'bright-smoke, cold-fire, sick-health' to show the contrast in the meaning of love and to show how different love can be for each of us. For example, love can be bright and easy to find or it can be hidden behind the smoke, which is all decided by fate and destiny. Shakespeare demonstrates Romeo's character as a young boy, who is in love with Rosaline, through the use of romantic language, metaphors and oxymoron. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo says to Juliet "My lips, two blushing pilgrims" (Act 1 Scene 5, Line 100), this shows that Romeo wants to start a 'pilgrimage' or journey of love with Juliet and the 'blushing pilgrim' symbolise his initial embarrassment of kissing her with passion and his actual lips as well. Moreover, the use of religious imagery shows that Romeo's love to Juliet is a serious thing and is too strong to resist. So therefore, Romeo is unable to turn back, which means that he is caught up in the powers of fate. In the balcony scene, Shakespeare portrays Romeo as a lovesick man, through changing some of his characteristics (as he is in love) such as despite of sex, being fickle, and going for only pretty faces. Shakespeare completely changed the setting to the previous scene as well as the atmosphere, actions, mood and even language used. The previous scene (Act 1 Scene 5) was the party and within that, the atmosphere was completely opposite of balcony scene (Act 2 Scene 2), everyone was shouting, hardly romantic and loads of loud noises. In this scene (Act 2 Scene 2), it is all calm, peaceful and romantic; therefore, the atmosphere is perfect for expressing his love to Juliet as she has stolen his heart. He says "But soft, what light through her window breaks?... It is east, and Juliet is the sun". Shakespeare uses metaphor, which mentions Juliet as a very bright Sun that shines through her window. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo continues "Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight" Romeo decided he'd sooner die, than live without Juliet's love, this also shows that he has changed back to a hot headed man. Moreover, Romeo knows that Friar would think of a plan for him and Juliet, so if he was not such a hot headed man, he would probably go to see friar before making his own decision. Shakespeare uses double meaning in word 'lie'. The first meaning is lie as in death and the second one is lie as a husband would with his wife. This also proves that his love to Juliet if stronger than death, which is again a big contrast between love and death. As you can see, love wins against death, as Romeo chose to keep his love after life. There is another contrast in this statement 'Juliet, tonight', as Juliet was portrayed many times as a bright light, angel and tonight can be related to the death. This again shows the theme in this scene 'death' and 'life' or 'love' and 'hate'. In my conclusion, the audience can see Romeo's different personalities throughout the play. His characteristics changes, when he gets to know Juliet, who has greatly changed his life. Romeo's thought on love, and his outlook on life, both dramatically change. Shakespeare also portrays Romeo as an impulsive, young and confused man. His passion and youthfulness makes him an extremely likeable character. Romeo is also portrayed as a very romantic man, who finds a true love at the end. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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