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How does Shakespeare present the themes of love and hate in Act 1 (focusing on Scene Five) of Romeo and Juliet? The presentations of both love and hate reach their first climaxes in Act 1

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ENGLISH COURSEWORK Final Draft How does Shakespeare present the themes of love and hate in Act 1 (focusing on Scene Five) of Romeo and Juliet? The presentations of both love and hate reach their first climaxes in Act 1, in the meeting of Romeo and Juliet, and in the hatred that Romeo stirs in Tybalt during that meeting. The characters playing major roles in this scene, Romeo, Juliet and Tybalt, are each seen to experience both ends of the emotional spectrum, and the way Shakespeare orders events highlights this contrast, and also helps build dramatic irony. Shakespeare's presentation of love and hate is defined in the Prologue, where the Chorus recites a sonnet that informs the audience of the conclusion of the entire drama, where "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life". It is here that Shakespeare destroys the notion of free will inside his play, and the underlying theme of fate in association with love and hate is announced. Also, with the audience forewarned of the outcome, all that takes place is seen in a new light, as now the audience care less about what happens, but how. Romeo and Juliet's sonnet later in the play contains echoes of the opening one, further enhancing the idea that we are watching two people being carried inexorably toward their destiny, an image that epitomises the whole tragedy. A different type of love is seen prior to Scene Five. ...read more.


As a result of Romeo's blissful ignorance to Juliet's lineage, he goes on to make a lengthy speech that makes judicious use of metaphors in describing her many virtues. He creates a variety of natural images, "a snowy dove trooping with crows" being a prime example. Here, in portraying Juliet as 'snowy', Romeo compliments her fair complexion (and also perhaps comments on her innocence), while 'dove trooping with crows' is a comparison between Juliet, the exquisite 'dove', and the other women at the ball, whom she has relegated by her beauty to the status of 'crows', a distinctly drab form of bird. Throughout his monologue, Romeo depicts himself as unworthy of Juliet, and hence elevates her to an almost angelic level, an idea supported by the many religious references made by Romeo in his conversation with Juliet later in the scene. Although it could be suggested that this is the typical exaggeration of a lover, it is more likely that Shakespeare meant for Romeo's soliloquy to lend extra poignancy to the plight of the lovers, whom the audience knew were doomed. Before that, however, comes the darker of our two themes: hatred in the form of Tybalt. The uplifting mood of the scene is shattered immediately as the sweet tone of Romeo is replaced by Tybalt's rasping dialogue. He is outraged that Romeo would dare to show his face at one of the Capulet's greatest occasions, and instantly calls "fetch me my rapier, boy", an act that is an omen ...read more.


Juliet develops this religious theme in her responses, which take up half the sonnet for the first four lines, showing that she is Romeo's equal in both intellect and social standing. This was quite uncommon in the Elizabethan era, as traditionally male sonnets silenced the female, reflecting the patriarchal nature of the times. That Juliet had such a significant share of the dialogue marked her as a powerful woman, and her fate was in keeping with the tradition of powerful women either dying or getting married at the end of a drama. The sonnet finally culminates in a visually powerful coup de grace: the famous first kiss. Romeo and Juliet immediately launch into another sonnet, but are ominously interrupted by the Nurse, a reminder to the audience that the romance will end in tragedy. The couple are forcibly broken from their trance, and the one perfect moment of the romance is broken, as Romeo and Juliet are parted, and their respective lineages discovered. Never again is the romance so perfect; the theme of untainted love has reached it's apex. In conclusion, Shakespeare presents true love, as between Romeo and Juliet, as an overwhelming, bewildering and thoroughly compulsive experience, as opposed to the confined and orthodox role-play acted out by Romeo and Rosaline. Hatred is portrayed as Love's eternal nemesis: it is always hate in some form that disrupts the romance in this scene, violence that follows the lovers wherever they go, and hate that triggers the chain of events that concludes with double suicide. ?? ?? ?? ?? Pascal Chatterjee Page 3 of 3 ...read more.

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