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Imagery in Romeo + Juliet

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Imagery in Romeo + Juliet "Romeo and Juliet" is one romantic tragedy you are sure to have heard of. Shakespeare wrote it towards the end of the 15th century from the original verse of Arthur Brooke named "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet". From the very first sentence of "Romeo and Juliet" imagery is used - in the prologue "where civil blood makes civil hands unclean" helps you to imagine the fights between the two feuding families of the Capulets and Montagues. Shakespeare uses imagery in most of his plays most notably in Macbeth, where it is used almost all the time. Imagery owns the purpose of giving rather graphic images to the audiences where it would have been impossible in Shakespeare's time to use special effects. The prologue of the play gives a very brief examination of the play, so the audiences have a sneak preview as to what is about to happen. All of the characters in "Romeo and Juliet" have rather strong personalities such as Benvolio the peacemaker, mercurial Mercutio and the rather religious Friar Laurence. ...read more.


When Juliet is confused and feeling betrayed, she has many different opinions on him, one of her most contradicting phrases was "O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face". This shows that Juliet is still in love with Romeo although she thinks he is a back stabber and betrayer. For this bit of imagery you can imagine a snake hiding behind a flower waiting to strike when an unsuspecting victim stops to admire it. The probable reason why the natural world has a lot of imagery related to it is probably the fact that it is such a wide category to fall into. Another time when Juliet uses the natural world's imagery is when she is telling Friar Laurence of the things she would do to prevent herself from committing adultery with Paris. "O, bid me leap, from off the battlements of any tower. Or lurk where serpents are. Or hide me nightly in a charnel house" was the imagery used when Friar Laurence had told her to say yes to the marriage proposal of Paris. ...read more.


This bit of imagery also has a touch of the light and darkness category as well. Friar Laurence is quite religious, and Shakespeare leads us to believe this by giving him religious imagery such as when he was speaking to Romeo about the his banishment he used darkness as evil and explained as a wise man would "And turned that black word death to banishment" Without imagery it is doubtless that this ply would have given Shakespeare his name as the worlds best bard ever. Could anyone imagine a world without Romeo and Juliet? What would David Beckham have called his son ... Casanova?!? So the imagery in Romeo and Juliet really did change the world, as we know it. As I said earlier the characters need the imagery to express themselves and their behaviour. The imagery also had a big part to play on the current issues at the time such as religion and death. All in all I am glad imagery was a crucial part of the plot of one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays, and arguably the worlds best ever romantic tragedy - "Romeo & Juliet" ...read more.

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