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How does Shakespeare present the themes of love and hate in Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

Year 10 Romeo and Juliet Coursework How does Shakespeare present the themes of love and hate in Act 1 of "Romeo and Juliet"? How does the presentation make the play more dramatically effective? Shakespeare presented many themes throughout the tragic play of "Romeo and Juliet"; I will now attempt to identify in more detail how Shakespeare explored two specific themes love and hate. These two themes are used sufficiently throughout the play; however I will only be focusing on Act 1. Based on "death- mark'd love," this play was written around 1595. The story is about a pair of "star-crossed lovers". Two teenagers follow their love for each other despite the fact their families despise each other. The story ranges from sword fighting, hatred, evil to some of the most romantic language found in English literature. I have acknowledged that there are different presentations of both love and hate throughout Act 1. There are different interpretations of love, for example when Lady Capulet talks to Juliet about Paris. "I'll look to like, if looking liking move." (Act 1 Scene 3). Basically Juliet is saying she'll look to see if she feels attracted to Paris, but she is not going to force herself into anything. The language used here reflects Juliets personality, it shows independence, and how she likes to make her own personal decision, in other words not to play by the book; but do things the way she wants to. ...read more.

Middle

Another example of this theme is presented through the character of the Nurse. She shows respect and love for the Montagues, especially Juliet. ...I pray thee, hold thy peace." "Yes madam..." (Act 1 scene 3) Respect is portrayed once again. The character of the nurse does not only show respect but love. Real Motherly love she treats Juliet, as one of her own. She knows everything about Juliet. Whilst speaking to Juliet, the nurse uses very bawdy language; this represents her status, and shows the audience, that the nurse is of a lower position to the Capulet family, and that she may have come from a lower cast family. Very informal, chatty words like "cockerels ball" are used by the nurse William Shakespeare has done to this to reflect the Nurse's happy, and contented personality. "On Lammas - eve at night shall she be fourteen." (Act 1 scene 3) The nurse can recall when and how old Juliet will be. This illustrates that the nurse and Juliet have a lot of love for each other, and hold a very strong bond between one another. However we could argue that lady Capulet does offer fairly good advice to Juliet, concerning her marriage. But we could also argue that she is uncaring, and selfish. "Scan Paris's face as if it were a book. Attractiveness is the theme." ...read more.

Conclusion

Hatred and love is linked throughout act 1, and this carries on into the rest of the play. For example the hatred of Tybalt remains alive, his sheer hatred is shown in act 3 again: "Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries That thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw." (Act 3, Scene 1) Tybalt does not forget that Romeo gate crashed his family's party; therefore he seeks him out for a fight later. Representing his sheer evil that he has for all Montagues. Shakespeare has varied the play with a mixture of presentations of the two themes love and hate, he creates tension, and drama in the right places. Making the audience stand on edge throughout the play. This makes it an exciting play to watch and enjoy. He has linked the beginning and ending of the play together. At the start he immediately creates tension, which is followed throughout the play by the dramatic irony of the prologue, making the audience start to wonder when things will happen. Questions like..."Who will fall in love?" "Who is the conflict between?" "Who will die?" This makes the play more effective. I think the prologue is an interesting feature, which Shakespeare has used to make the play more enjoyable; and will keep the audience involved. Shakespeare's tragic, yet romantic play is presented exceptionally well, with different aspects of love and hate, the effective use of juxtaposition adds to the dramatic effect. By Aruna Bhalla ...read more.

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