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How Does Shakespeare Present Conflicting Views of Love?

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Introduction

With Reference to a Number of Contrasting Conversations Around the Feast Scene: How Does Shakespeare Present Conflicting Views of Love? In the play "Romeo and Juliet", the many differing views of love held by the characters make it difficult, if not impossible to resolve conflicts between the two households. Scenes that bring these conflicts of views of love into close focus are those that cluster around the feast. Shakespeare contrasts the intense and pure love of Romeo and Juliet; with the Montague kinsmen's' view of love as sex; with the nurse's practical and earthy view of love; with the parents desire for their daughter to make a wealthy marriage where love need not be involved; with the Friar - a stranger to love who sees Romeo and Juliet's love as a way of ending the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. I have chosen these characters in order to produce a wide variety of views of love, as each of these characters believe different things, and there are a number of clashes of viewpoints between the characters. Having not quite reached her fourteenth birthday, Juliet is of an age that stands on the border between immaturity and maturity. However, at the beginning of the play she seems just like an obedient, sheltered, na�ve child. Juliet has not given the subject of marriage any thought. This is shown in Act 1, Scene 3, when she is talking with Lady Capulet about marriage. "It is an honour that I dream not of." This shows how Juliet has not even considered marriage at the beginning of the play - and is very innocent. This is also shown later on in the same scene. "I'll look to like, if looking liking move: But no more deep will I endart mine eye, than your consent gives strength to make it fly." Shakespeare includes this to create a huge contrast between the young innocent Juliet at the beginning of the play, and how Juliet acts when she is in love with Romeo. ...read more.

Middle

The two lovers are going against every tradition in Verona as they are from enemy households, however their view of love is not understood by anyone else, and so they result in suicide. A completely different view of love comes from Lady Capulet. From very early on in the play (Act 1, Scene 3) it is revealed to us that she is not interested in Juliet falling in love, but getting married and receiving all the benefits of her husband's money. Lady Capulet: So shall you share all that he doth possess This shows how by getting married - Juliet will share the wealth of her husband. Shakespeare then moves on to Lady Capulet speaking about a certain man, and how Juliet would be perfect for him. Shakespeare does this to show that Lady Capulet has been thinking about her daughter being married, and who would be suitable. Lady Capulet: This precious book of love, this unbound lover, To beautify him, only lacks a cover: The fish lives in the sea, and 'tis much pride. For fair without the fair within to hide: That book in many's eyes doth share the glory In this dialogue, Shakespeare has Lady Capulet comparing Juliet to the cover of a book - the book being Paris. This is a very strange comparison to make, however Shakespeare uses it in order to make Lady Capulet's views of love to simply be marriage - not love at all. Juliet will be the woman to complete him, as it is the aim in a man's life to have the money and power, but also to be married. By using the phrase "to beautify him", Shakespeare is making it Lady Capulet's viewpoint that Juliet will just be the woman by his side - the one who looks beautiful. In the first place it was Lord Capulet's idea that Juliet should marry Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final differing view of love comes from the Montague kinsmen - more specifically Mercutio, Benvolio and their friends. The beginning of the play shows how one of the kinsmen is different from all the others. When Benvolio is talking to Romeo about why he is so depressed, Benvolio seems concerned. When Romeo says he will leave, Benvolio offers to go along with him. "Soft! I will go along; An if you leave me so, you do me wrong" Shakespeare has used Benvolio as the sensible one - who believes in love and does not make fun of Romeo for feeling love. However he is the only member of the Montague kinsmen to have this view - that love can be pure. In Act 1, scene 4, Mercutio is attempting to console Romeo for his unrequited love of Rosaline, however it is clear to Romeo that he does not understand love. Mercutio: And, to sink in it, should you burden love; Too great oppression for a tender thing. Romeo: Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. Mercutio mocks Romeo for being in love and letting it take over his life. Shakespeare uses this as a device to show the differences between the lovers, and the people who on look Romeo and Juliet - who do not understand their love. The main scene to show "the boys'" view of love is Act 2, Scene 1. In this scene Mercutio makes fun of Romeo, and imagines he is going into the orchard to have sex with Rosaline, but in fact he is going to simply see Juliet - to see if he can catch a glimpse of her, or talk to her again. Mercutio shows his view of love of not being love at all - but being simply about sex. "By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh and the demesnes that there adjacent lie." He does not summon Romeo by his name, but by Rosaline's femininity. He makes Romeo's feelings all about wanting to sleep with a woman. ...read more.

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