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How does Shakespeare present the theme of love in Act I of Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare present the theme of love in Act I of Romeo and Juliet In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act I sets the scene for the rest of the play and shows how the main characters love for each other will develop. Shakespeare develops many different types of love through a complex plot, characters and with the added twist of fate. At our first meeting with Romeo, he shows a stylised, conventional view of love, known as courtly love or Petrarchan love. Shakespeare conveys this love in Romeo's speech, his actions and his emotions. Romeo is adamant that only Rosaline will suit him and when she dismisses him, Romeo tells his cousin Benvolio 'I have lost myself; I am not here; This is not Romeo, he's some other where'1,1,191. This helps portray the stylised view of love, as Romeo is lost without Rosaline and is not himself anymore. Romeo is also very melancholy in the way in which the speaks, 'Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; Being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears'1,1,185. Love stories containing this type of courtly love often follow a similar plot to each other, and invariably must fill certain criteria. ...read more.

Middle

When Tybalt reveals his plans to kill Romeo, 'Now, by the stock and honour of my kin, to strike him dead, I hold it not a sin'1,5,55, Capulet refuses to let him, 'He shall be endured'1,5,73. I believe that Capulet and Tybalt to not see eye-to-eye and Capulet only endures his presence out of a sense of duty towards his family. Loyalty within families is a hugely important theme in Romeo and Juliet and is demonstrated by the parental love and concern shown by the Capulets and Montagues. It is plain to see that Lady Capulet was married young and quickly became pregnant, 'I was your mother much upon these years'1,3,74, and in her opinion, getting married at a young age has not done her any harm. She is also very impressed by Paris' attractive appearance and social standing, 'Verona's summer hath not such a flower'1,3,78. Therefore she believes that it is in her daughters best interests to marry Paris, and she is only pressuring Juliet into marriage because Lady Capulet believes her daughter will be happier. However, at the beginning of the act, Capulet is not as certain as his wife about the benefits of his daughter marrying Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

The masked ball is designed to cement the love affair between Juliet and Paris, yet into it comes an interloper whose encounter with Juliet totally rewrites the script. We are aware of the dangers all the time: of the hatred between the two families. But against this background, a beautiful love forms, blossoms and achieves immortality. Romeo and Juliet are powerless in a world not of their making and one of which they are unable to influence - at least not until they die. True love never dies. A phrase highly appropriate for the play of Romeo and Juliet. The popularity of the play does not reside in its different definitions of love but in its triumphant description of one love. The 'true love' of Romeo and Juliet shines out against the other types of love. It is obvious that Romeo feels more for Juliet than simply courtly love when he first meets her. After the pain and suffering that loving Rosaline has caused him, Romeo must be delighted in the ease of this new love. Upon first meeting her he says, 'O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!'1,5,41, perhaps reference to a new fame burning inside him for Juliet. The love he feels for Juliet must be all the more intense considering the extent to which he loved Rosaline. ...read more.

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