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Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Describe the different attitudes to love seen in 'Romeo and Juliet and explain how Shakespeare presents them. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic romance written by William Shakespeare in the years 1591-1595, the story was adapted by Shakespeare from other versions including 'The tragical history of Romeus and Juliet' by Arthur Brooke in 1562, and 'Palace of Pleasure; by William Painter in 1582. It is thought that Shakespeare copied heavily from both but added some minor characters such as Mercutio and Paris to enable him to expand the plot. "Romeo and Juliet" is a fairly unorthodox story as we are given the knowledge of the outcome of the play in the prologue. 'Doth with their death bury their parents' strife' shows to us that two people in love will kill themselves in order to settle a family grudge between the two. Because of this there is no dramatic tension which means the reader knows what is going to happen throughout the play and it suggests a familiar plot. To understand the different ways love is presented we have to look at the way society in the time of the play and compare it to ours. To do this we must understand the definition of love, 'an intense feeling of deep affection, or fondness for a person or thing'. In the time of Romeo and Juliet society was run in a very patriarchal and dictatorial fashion. Such examples are presented to us in the play. For instance when Capulet has an arranged marriage made between his daughter and Paris. This shows the lack of control of women and the overpowering nature of men, women being controlled by male authority figures and men proving their virility by fighting and violence There are many different ways that the forms of love in this play are presented; one of the theories is that the different loves were based on the Greek words for love. ...read more.

Middle

marred are those early made This shows to us that he is a good father and is looking out for his daughter and does not want her to make mistakes in life, showing us his care and love for her. The fact that even though parents were in control yet he says he will only let Juliet get married if he has her consent shows that he trusts her and respects her, 'my will to her consent is but a part'. However this changes when he thinks that marrying Paris will help her get over the death of Tybalt. He thinks he is acting in her best interests and so is very frustrated that she says no. This again would have shocked the audience because of Elizabethan traditions. He is also annoyed with her because he has already given his word to Paris and he would reap the benefits with Paris's link to the prince. His anger can be shown when he say's 'I'll not be forsworn', although we can understand his anger, there is a lot of dramatic irony in this passage. This is because we know why Juliet cannot marry Paris; she is already married. Throughout the play we are given the impression that the only person Juliet feels truly comfortable with is the nurse. She treats her like a mother and vice versa. It was not unusual for a wealthy family to employ a wet nurse at that time. When Juliet was a baby the nurse breast fed her so it is clear there is a maternal bond there, this is also apparent when Juliet confides in the nurse rather than her mother; this shows that the nurse acts like a surrogate parent to her. This is backed up when Juliet talks to the nurse about the marriage with Romeo; we can note that Juliet feels completely comfortable with the nurse because it is a discussion that unlike most children, she knows she cannot talk to her mother about it; however the nurse is very understanding and helps her in the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the nurse, who acts as a mother to Juliet, tells her she should marry Paris we are further shocked by Juliet's resilience when she tells the nurse to leave. Another scene in which we see Juliet's love for Romeo is Act 4 Scene 3, where she is prepared to kill herself rather than be with another man, 'Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here's drink-I drink to thee.' By repeating the words Romeo we can see the last thing on her mind before she drinks the poison is Romeo. In Act 5 Scene 3 Romeo goes to Juliet's tomb, he says 'A grave, O no, a lantern, and slaughtered youth' this shows that even in death she is his light in darkness. He then shows that he cannot live without Juliet and kills himself. This is another example of when love is juxtaposed with hate. In conclusion it is clear to see that Shakespeare has portrayed the different types of love in many ways and i have described the ways he has done so, this book shows that love and fate are closely linked, that love by itself is the most powerful emotion known to man, it can drive a person crazy, break a legendary family bond, and cause death. Shakespeare shows that love cannot exist without death, and love is such an extreme emotion that it causes many others with it; hate, fear, anger, euphoria. These are just a few examples Shakespeare uses language in a number of ways to help emphasize these different loves, whether it is oxymorons such as 'love hate,' which show how love can cause utter confusion. To romantic in which love causes two people to kill themselves because they cannot bear to be apart and force a peace between two hostile groups. It is clear from the way that Shakespeare uses language that love is an emotion that cannot be controlled, tamed and even through all aspects of greatness, causes utter catastrophe! Ashley Bryant Word Count: 4583 ...read more.

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