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

    Romeo's emotions give a clear picture that his death will be inevitable, Romeo's rash actions and explosion of emotions will determine his outcome: "And fire-ey'd fury be my conduct now" (Act3 scene1 ll120) Romeo's approach to Juliet is rash and foolhardy; this is because Shakespeare has to get Romeo and Juliet together quickly to move the play along.

  2. By a study of both Romeo and Juliet and a selection of his sonnets ...

    However, the purity of his love becomes evident in the final rhyming couplet, when he encapsulates the argument: "And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/ As any she belied with false compare." The absolute sincerity is clear: despite her lack of adornment, his love is based on

  1. The concept of fate - Romeo and Juliet

    Romeo then swallows the poison and dies next to his beloved. Moments later, Juliet awakens to discover that her husband is dead, and furthermore, his lips are still warm. Distraught, she stabs herself through the heart. Had Romeo not acted with such sudden certainty, he would have lived to watch his wife awaken.

  2. didn't think I would ever fall in love, come to think of it I ...

    she asked knowing exactly what I said "Nothing" I replied, with that I stomped up the stairs. When I got to my room I called Romeo. "Hello" "Yea Khia, are you coming now?" "Sorry Romeo I won't be able to make it, my mum asked me to do summer cleaning can you believe it?"

  1. In the Prologue, Romeo and Juliet are Described as "a pair of star-crossed lovers". ...

    She is basically saying everything happens for a reason whether the result is good or whether it is bad. This part of the play is when she is planning her fake suicide. She is making it as if fate is in control of everything but she can, if she wants

  2. Discuss the role of fate and coincidence in the tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

    There is evidence that Juliet is influenced by a sense of her fate. Juliet has just met Romeo who had gate crashed her parent's party and they both fell deeply in love. In their first meeting, Juliet is called away by the nurse as her mother needs to speak to her.

  1. The prologue calls Romeo and Juliet 'a pair of star crossed lovers' To what ...

    Tybalt, a member of the Capulet family and cousin to Juliet, was a sworn enemy to the Montague family, influenced the course of events by fighting Romeo in the streets and causing the death of Mercutio, If Tybalt had not brawled with Mercutio, Romeo would have never fought Tybalt and would have therefore again avoided banishment.

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

    There may also be a darker purpose to Shakespeare?s use of the sonnet form here. It echoes the opening sonnet, reminding the audience that Romeo and Juliet are ?star cross?d lovers? and doomed to a tragic fate. Shakespeare also explores a true, pure love in Sonnet 116.

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