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How does Shakespeare present the theme of love and its links to violence, suffering and death?

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How does Shakespeare present the theme of love and its links to violence, suffering and death? Throughout the play 'Romeo and Juliet', Shakespeare presents the audience with various forms of love; spiritual and physical, genuine and artificial love, and encourages them to think about their links to suffering, hate and deatth. The first example of this is Romeo's love for Rosaline, which is clearly and directly linked to suffering as his love for her is unrequited. However despite this link to pain, this is one of the more comical elements of the play and I think Shakespeare is using this relationship to introduce the idea of love being nothing more than a feeling of lust and desire as in these first scenes Romeo appears very insincere. When Romeo talks of Rosaline he uses very formal, melodramatic language and clich�s such as "under love's heavy burden do I sink". It could be argued that this is simply because language in these times was very elaborate, but although this is true, I believe that there is a very striking difference between Romeo's speeches and those of the other characters. ...read more.


Romeo and Juliet, related in this way through both love and hate are victims of this feud within which they are trapped. Upon finding out that Romeo is a Montague, Juliet says "my only love sprung from my only hate" and I think at this point Shakespeare is playing with the idea of hate giving birth to love thus presenting again the idea of these two emotions being so closely entwined. This also links love to suffering because it is because of their love, which must be hidden amongst hate, that they are killed. Also, it is the suffering caused by their deaths that leads to the reconciliation between the Capulets and the Montagues thus again linking love to suffering and death, and showing love being born of hate and pain perhaps because love is so powerful that it is able to overcome even an emotion as extreme as hate. Shakespeare uses this complex web of emotions to present a very ambiguous view of love, suffering and hate and their links to one another. ...read more.


After Romeo and Juliet's deaths, the Prince says "See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love" and I think this refers to the emotions felt by the two lovers. Throughout the play, they are the only two characters who seem completely untainted by hate and this is because of their love for each other which makes them realise that in many ways the true meaning of the feud between the two families is itself love. Thus their deaths provide an escape from the environment into which they were thrown and this brings irony to the play, as it is at this point that the feud is resolved. In conclusion, I think that Shakespeare links love with suffering and death in many interesting ways and emphasises the power of love, which can be divine but equally destructive, and it's parallels with hate. He presents the audience with various aspects of love and leaves them to decide which are examples of real love and which are false whilst highlighting their links with various degrees of suffering and in some cases death. Jessica Pelizzari 11Z ...read more.

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