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'Romeo and Juliet' is a play about love and hate. How does Shakespeare introduce and develop this theme?

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Introduction

Ben Weller 'Romeo and Juliet' is a play about love and hate. How does Shakespeare introduce and develop this theme? Shakespeare writes about many different types of love in his play. The most obvious is the infatuation of Romeo, first in Rosaline then in Juliet. Then there is sexual love, shown mostly through the banter and the innuendos of the servants. There is also the contrast between affection in arranged marriages and true love. Shakespeare also heavily develops the theme of hate, with the long-lasting overarching feud between the two families and the independent hatred of Tybalt, and later Romeo. The extremes of love and hate in the play would be unlikely to occur today, of course. Arranged marriages are no longer commonplace, so when people marry they generally marry someone they love. The kind of hate in Romeo and Juliet would also not happen today; the feudal society back then meant that hatred could continue for generations and everybody carried a sword, meaning that any fight could result in death. In addition, honour was very important, and upholding it could often lead to death-duels. Romeo's love for Juliet is quite different to his love for Rosaline. Firstly, he is a lot happier whilst in love with Juliet. Mercutio comments that after meeting Juliet he became the Romeo he remembers from before the infatuation with Rosaline- 'Now art thou sociable. ...read more.

Middle

The character in the play who most personifies love is Romeo. He comes across as very na�ve in his view of love, becoming easily besotted and falling into and out of love easily. He is first presented as a lover creating poems in honour of Rosaline. Then, as the play goes on, we see him mature, and progress from love-sickness to true love. Perhaps the most hateful character in the play is Tybalt. We first see his hatred in Act 1 Scene 1 when he says to Benvolio: What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee: Have at thee, coward! Later in the play Tybalt is the first to see through Romeo's disguise at the Capulet ball. He wants to fight Romeo until Lord Capulet stops him. Eventually Tybalt kills Romeo's friend Mercutio. In Act 1 Scene 5, when Romeo meets Juliet for the first time at the Capulet ball, Romeo uses metaphors, for example describing Juliet as a 'holy shrine'. This shows his love for her in the roundabout way of medieval times. Juliet shows her love by extending the metaphor. Later, in the balcony scene, Shakespeare has Romeo overhear Juliet talking of her love for him. This allows him to move the plot on quicker, skipping the extensive courting that would usually have happened. It also shows how different and special the love between Romeo and Juliet is. ...read more.

Conclusion

The night is good because it is at night that the 'star-crossed lovers' meet, and they continue to meet up nocturnally. The day is bad because of the fights, and that Romeo and Juliet need to hide their love during the day. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony again by having Romeo meet Juliet at the Capulet ball, a situation which was not only very dangerous, but also symbolised the main evil of the play- the feud between the families. I think this play is a good example of the way love and hate affect each other. Without the family feud Romeo and Juliet may never have met, or fell in love. Subsequently, if it wasn't for Tybalt's hatred, or Romeo's lust for vengeance, the couple may have managed to be happy. Finally, if it wasn't for the love that Romeo and Juliet had for each other the Capulet-Montague feud may have continued forever. I believe that Shakespeare's main message about love and hate is they are inseparable, and that often the lone between the two is difficult to see. In a smaller sense, he is saying that people are never entirely good or entirely evil, but are instead a mixture of the two. I believe that he achieves this in a large part by his use of the prologue to tell the audience that the play ends tragically, before letting them see why. In doing this he has separated cause and effect, implying that the outcome would have been the same even if not for the hate-filled actions of Tybalt, or those of love-sick Romeo. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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