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The beginnings of love between Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet is one of the earlier works of 16nth century English playwright William Shakespeare. Along with Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet is one of the most frequently performed plays. The tragic story of the star cross'd lovers is a classic example of Shakespeare's dramatic abilities. However although the play is a love story the two main characters only actually meet at the end of act 1. Shakespeare builds the audiences expectation and anticipation for this momentous occasion. The scene takes place the grand hall of the Capulet household where the Capulets are holding their feast. Romeo has tagged along on request of Benvolio to have some fun and to take is mind off his unrequited love for Rosaline. He manages to slip inside the party wearing a mask. The scene starts with patter of conversation from the servants who are preparing for the grand entrance of the Capulets. The servants talk in a very informal tone such as exclaiming coarsely, this is shown in contrast to Capulet's speech as he enters which is in the form of verses which signifies a rich background. At this point Romeo espies Juliet from across the room for the first time and commences into a soliloquy. This is in the form a Shakespearian sonnet which is usually used to express feelings of love. ...read more.

Middle

There could perhaps be another comparison of light and dark with Romeos words representing light and Tybalts's representing dark. When Romeo actually meets Juliet he shows that he is an ingenious lover using wordplay and his wit to convince Juliet to kiss him. Romeo uses the pretence of religion as his supposed theme during his conversation with Juliet. Romeo refers to Juliet's hand as a holy place or "shrine" which he asks whether he would have permission to defile or "profane" with his hand. He compares his lips to pilgrims that can "smooth" away the "rough touch" of the hand with a kiss. By using religious imagery Romeo conveys that love can only be described in religious terms in this situation as it is associated with purity and the passion of god like beings. Juliet as a saint and Romeo as a pilgrim who wishes to erase his sin, he tries to convince her to kiss him, since it is only through her kiss that he might be absolved. Juliet agrees to remain still as Romeo kisses her. Thus, in the terms of their conversation, she takes his sin from him. Juliet then makes the logical leap that if she has taken Romeo's sin from him, his sin must now reside in her lips, and so they must kiss again. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first conversation between Romeo and Juliet also provides a glimpse of the roles that each will play in their relationship. In this scene, Romeo is clearly the aggressor. He uses all the skill at his disposal to win over a struck, but timid, Juliet. Note that Juliet does not move during their first kiss; she simply lets Romeo kiss her. She is still a young girl, and though already in her dialogue with Romeo has proved herself intelligent; she is not ready to throw herself into action. But Juliet is the aggressor in the second kiss. It is her logic that forces Romeo to kiss her again and take back the sin he has placed upon her lips. In a single conversation, Juliet transforms from a proper, timid young girl to one more mature, who understands what she desires and is quick-witted enough to procure it. Juliet's sequential comment to Romeo 'You kiss by th' book,' could be taken in two ways, one is that Juliet uses this as an exclamation as a compliment to Romeo or it could be a indecorous observation as to the fact that Romeos kissing could be almost mechanical and unoriginal. The latter could also be true as from previous scenes it is learned that Romeo is pining for Rosaline read many books of romantic poetry. However, whatever the case it is clear that Juliet is smitten with Romeo and ends up encouraging him to pursue their love. ...read more.

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