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The language of Romeo and Juliet.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE ENGLISH COURSEWORK The language of Romeo and Juliet is some of the most beautiful ever written. Compare and contrast the romantic language used by Romeo with the more prosaic language used by Juliet's nurse. Your answer should include references to literary and dramatic traditions of the Elizabethan stage and a sound knowledge of the historical and cultural context of the play as a whole. Romeo and Juliet is a powerful love story written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500s. It is well known throughout the world for its romantic scenes, interesting language and tragic ending. More is known about William Shakespeare than any other professional dramatist of his time. He was born in 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, he is traditionally said to have been born on 23rd April. He had five brothers of which one died young, and his parents were called John and Mary. In November 1582 he married Anne Hathaway and in later years they had three children. He started his professional career in the late 1500s and, until his death on April 23rd 1616, he wrote many extremely popular plays, sonnets and poems. His plays usually could be divided into three categories, comedy, tragedy and War. Romeo and Juliet is unquestionably a tragedy. Romeo and Juliet has universal values to many people of our time and is often thought of as one of Shakespeare's best ever works. It contains many styles of Shakespeare's language, and the language of that time. It is a classic Shakespeare love story involving various recurring themes such as conflict, fate, love and marriage. Shakespeare used five styles of writing in his plays, which were common with other playwrights too. These were Poetic Verse, Blank Verse, Prose or Sonnet. These were the styles of language at that time, the more educated of the people tended to speak about something for a lot longer than needed, but that was just what it was like at the time, whereas the more ordinary people spoke in more plain language and rarely had big speeches. ...read more.

Middle

He says, 'No, believe me! I can't dance, you go ahead, I'm too depressed. Romeo: I am too sore empierced with his shaft, To soar with his light feathers; and so bound, I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe. Under love's heavy burden I sink. Romeo is so depressed that Rosaline doesn't like him that he just wants to sit alone, and think about what he has done wrong. Romeo: Is love a tender thing? Is it too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn. This is an example of a phrase that you would never hear the Nurse say. It is complicated to analyse, and Romeo could have said what he said in more simple English, but if he did always speak like the Nurse then it would make the play less interesting. He is despairing over the fact that Rosaline doesn't love him and that she has supposedly broken his heart, and he is complaining that love is rough and always hurts those who fall in love. From analysing these two Scenes you can see already that Romeo is the more educated and richer of the two just from the way he talks. He tends to more words than necessary, and complicated language to understand while the Nurse uses ordinary, simple to understand language and often swears. In this paragraph I will be comparing Act 2 Scene 2, one of the most romantic scenes of play at Juliet's balcony, with Act 2 Scene 4, where the Nurse comes looking for Romeo to tell him about the arrangements of the marriage to Juliet, but the young Montague's tease her mercilessly. Act 2 Scene 2 Romeo: He jests at scars that never felt a wound. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sum and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief That thou her maid art far more fair than she. ...read more.

Conclusion

I have noticed that Romeo is more polite and well mannered, and that the Nurse can be quite rude and swears, but this was like a normal person of Elizabethan times. I have compared the way the two reacted to Juliet's death, the way they spoke when they talked to each other, the way the two spoke to other people and the way they spoke to people of authority, with a difference every time. In some ways, the Nurse and Romeo couldn't be more different. My opinion is that Shakespeare makes the Nurse like she is because rich Elizabethan mothers wouldn't want to do all the hard work of bringing up a child and the Nurse is there to support Juliet, and to act as a friend to her. She speaks in basic language that you would expect to hear people of the time saying, and doesn't change the way she speaks for anyone. Romeo, on the other hand, is one of the main characters of the play famous for his beautiful romantic language throughout the play. His roles are to fall in love, to get married and to kill himself, and if those things never happened, then the play would never be as good. Romeo has a constant effect on the play and appears in almost every act, mostly talking to Juliet or his friends but now and again speaking to elders. Shakespeare tries to give the impression that the Nurse is a silly old woman, and in many cases, an ugly one too. But he gives the impression that Romeo is a young, handsome, well-educated boy who is very romantic, and Shakespeare tries to make Romeo the most popular character in the play in my opinion. He does this by killing off Mercutio, who takes the attention off Romeo because of his comedy. All the characters of the play have a role, and without that role the play would be different, and most people think that the play should stay the same as it has for centuries, including Romeo and Juliet's Nurse. ...read more.

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