• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. The concept of fate - Romeo and Juliet

    The two families, the Montagues and the Capulets continue being rivals all the way to the end of the play until the inevitable event takes its place. In the play, there are many pieces of evidence that further present the prologue's sad foretold reality.

  2. Romeo And Juliet - The feud between the Montague and Capulet families and the ...

    Another issue, which needs to be considered, is what affect the feud between the Capulets and Montague's had on the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. For centuries these two families were sworn enemies. However in this play their grudge turns into a new mutiny, "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny."

  1. Shakespeare cleverly masks the true meaning of Romeo and Juliet behind the idea of ...

    Most Italian men are romantic and strong believers in love, but Italian men are also known for there over the top romance, this influences Romeos character. Shakespeare creates Romeo's character so his emotions are easily changed from high to low, Shakespeare also shows Romeo being driven by his emotions.

  2. Writing about the story of Romeo and Juliet, in a prologue then the relationship ...

    is where we first hear of the Nurse. This is the scene that we can gather her background information. The two sit together reminiscing on the "good old days". She can remember the exact date of Juliet's birth, a sign of a close connection. It would remain in her memory because of the death of her own child.

  1. Analyse the dramatic function of Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet" with appropriate reference to ...

    This speech made by Mercutio implies that Romeo only wants Rosaline for her feminine parts. "O that she were An open-etcetera, thou a pop'rin pear." Mercutio is only interested in females for their feminine parts. Whereas Romeo believes in respect for women.

  2. Examine the role played by the Nurse and the Friar in

    Shakespeare uses the Nurse here to entertain the audience. The Nurse also likes to tease Juliet. When she brings news of Romeo's proposed marriage to Juliet she teases anxious Juliet by keeping her in suspense and constantly changing the subject telling Juliet "how my head aches!"

  1. How Far is it Appropriate to describe Romeo and Juliet as a "Tragedy of ...

    Friar Lawrence alludes to fate in Act 5 Scene 3 when he states that "a greater power than we can contradict/ Hath thwarted our intent". This can be seen as trying to shift the blame as he is scared of the consequences of his involvement.

  2. How does Shakespeare present love through Romeo and Juliet and a selection of ...

    Spiritual love is also explored in Sonnet 116, presented through Shakespeare?s choice to use the word ?minds? rather than a physical image (such as bodies), implying that the love described supersedes physical attraction to a spiritual level. By describing love using ?star?, it implies that it is celestial; further illustrating that the love presented is spiritual.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work