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In the prologue, Romeo and Juliet are described as a pair of "star cross'd lovers". How appropriate is this description?

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Introduction

Oh...from the heavens above, or from the hell below? In the prologue, Romeo and Juliet are described as a pair of "star cross'd lovers". How appropriate is this description? The origin of the vendetta between the two families has long been forgotten, yet, it has been propagated and affects not just the two ancestral lines involved, but all those around them. This vital theme which runs throughout the play is what William Shakespeare draws on to attract his audiences. He wrote a large variety of plays ranging from comedies to romantic love-stories with typical axiom endings where young people fall in love and live happily ever after. However at the end of the sixteenth century Shakespeare wrote an array of bitter and melancholy plays. With this unusual approach, he wrote some of his most acclaimed work in which he used numerous literary techniques such as sonnets. Romeo and Juliet is one of the oldest stories in the world: two young lovers, little more than children, cannot understand the hatred of an older generation that keeps them apart, and choose to die together rather than live without each other. Apart from the feud, Shakespeare hints the common idea that opposites attract. The play is built on contrasts: love and hate, peace and conflict, young and old, passion and duty. All these personalities are played by different characters and many a time does one character show a conflagration of emotions. Shakespeare's understanding of the characters goes far beyond the hero and heroine. He includes the Nurse who is chatty, ambivalent and earthy; Romeo's friend Mercutio who is quick with his sword and tongue; and even Friar Lawrence who is motivated by the best intentions - to use love to conquer hate. I truly feel that fate was the true dictator of events during the swift progression of Romeo and Juliet, however to prove that the occurrences throughout the play weren't mere coincidences, a study of the two main characters in the play will help me identify this. ...read more.

Middle

Her speech is unaffected, unrefined and unsophisticated. It gives the impression that the Nurse shows her basic side when she cares for Juliet. Her maternal fondness which was lost when Susan died has been transferred to Juliet. It could be that the Nurse feels so bound to Juliet due to the fact that she herself has lost a child and so uses Juliet as a substitute. Lady Capulet tries her best to stop it - 'Enough of this, I pray thee hold thy peace.' The intensity of the Nurse's crude words are emphasised even more during this speech as the she cannot help but ranting and raving on about her affections for Juliet. Though she does use doting words to define her love: 'lamb' or 'ladybird', the Nurse's speech is accentuated by sexual puns. Her consistent references to sexual activities liken her to other common characters in the play such as Gregory and Sampson who also add humour to the play. The fact that the Nurse is not ashamed to speak to Juliet about 'a bump as big as a young cock'rel's stone' depicts her earthy nature. Shakespeare makes sure that the entire Nurse's dialogue is in simple prose to distinguish the citizens' hierarchy in Verona. Vulgar servant-like characters such as the Nurse talk in an informal and chatty manner, unlike the Prince who of course is at the top of this social structure. However it is to be duly noted that the Nurse's language becomes much more poetic when she talks to or about Juliet, I find the Nurse particularly interesting because when I first read through the play, her character sparked a lot of emotion and though I got exasperated by her continuing rambling, her inappropriate word use was rather amusing. Though she shows concern for Juliet like any mother, her basic speech is riddled with sexual puns ('No less nay! Bigger women grow by men') ...read more.

Conclusion

After realising that he has fallen in love with the one girl that is out of his reach, he hears Juliet professing her love to him on the balcony. This leads onto their swift marriage, and then the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt. To solve all the impending doom, the Friar expediently has the correct potion suitable to put Juliet to sleep for the exactly perfect amount of time that is necessary for everyone to think she is dead. Fittingly, the plan happens to fall apart when Friar John could not deliver a letter due to the plague that he was quarantined by, nevertheless, Balthasar had escaped this restriction and could reach Romeo before anyone else to deliver the terrible news. Even though Romeo doesn't live in Mantua, he knows an appropriate place to buy his poison - the apothecary. When Romeo finally reaches the tomb in which Juliet is laid, he meets Paris who beneficially has a dagger that they use to fight till death. Romeo wins, this may perhaps be surged by his grief, to then find that Juliet is really dead and hence he kills himself instantaneously with the poison. So rudimentary was the plan that Juliet wakes almost immediately after Romeo has died. The long list of premonitions, chains of explicit fate and ostensible coincidences, depicts that the description of the lovers in the prologue is very fitting. Every event has been somewhat addled by fate and nothing seems to be running on its natural course. With reference to the numerous mystical and ethereal happenings, I have begun to consider whether these occurrences are really from the heavens above, or merely seeping in from the hell below. From the deep and fiery depths of hell, fate lurks...lashing out unexpectedly at those who are unaware...Can anyone escape this wrath? Or are we too like two of Verona's feuding families, just being taken for a stroll in the murky profundity of fate's garden? ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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