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The Shakespeare Unit - Examine the Different Views of Love Presented in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Discussing the Dramatic Reasons for their Inclusion

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet is set on a theme of love and hate and presents many different types of love. The love between the two eponymous characters, Romeo and Juliet, is set in the context of hate, so their love stands out as more pure, and infused with tragedy. The prologue at the beginning of the play describes Romeo and Juliet as 'A pair of star-crossed lovers' who 'take their life', so we know that fate is against them. The first love presented is Romeo's fashionable love for Rosaline. Later on, we see romantic love for Juliet. Unromantic love is presented by Lady Capulet as she speaks to her daughter about marriage. The Nurse and Mercutio represent sexual love. Other loves presented include, spiritual love, passionate love and moderate love. Each of the characters have alternative views of love and they all contrast with each other - Romeo and Juliet's view of love is different to those of the other characters. Examining the different views of love in the play will answer the many questions of love that Shakespeare poses, for example, what is the power of love, and what is the value of love? Romeo appears depressed and his mind seems troubled by something especially after he has been locking himself into his room, sitting in darkness and shutting himself off from the rest of the world. He talks to Benvolio revealing he is in love with a girl called Rosaline who is the niece of Capulet, and does not love him back. This unrequited love makes Romeo feel as if he is not himself and very depressed. ...read more.

Middle

But trust me gentleman, I'll prove more true Than those that have more cunning to be strange. This results in Juliet announcing her marriage - again dismissing traditional forms of courtship - when she says: Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed, If thy bent of love be honorable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow, By one that I'll procure to come to thee. She describes her love with natural imagery of flowers and buds, "This bud of loves by summer's ripening breath May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet". Her love for Romeo is innocent and, like Romeo's love for her, pure. She also describes her love as deep and ever-lasting, and uses this metaphor, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee", showing she is a strong character, as she is prepared to go against her whole family and marry into the family who are their foe. Romeo and Juliet's love scenes are separated from the rest of the play, especially the hatred, between the two families. Their love is so pure that the hatred between them is overpowered. Their eternal love is motivated by trust and not lust. The love scenes, including the balcony scene, are set away from the context of hate to show their loyalty towards each other. The environment around their love is so beautiful, that they have not thought of the consequences of them being together at all. The audience know that their love is real, and the strength behind it is immense, but fear the tests their love is set against. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he does come to marry them though, he worries that their love may be too hasty and too passionate: These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. The Friar is the one who advises them to "love moderately". The Friar comes up with the plan to keep Romeo and Juliet together and make Juliet not go thorough with the arranged marriage to Paris. However, we know the risky and complicated plan would not go according to the plan and therefore the Friar prepares us for tragedy. William Shakespeare views love as triumphant. He attempts to show us that love is stronger than hate, and has the power to overcome hate. We see this during Act Five scene three, when the Montague's and Capulet's forgive each other and their hate turns into love. The love between Romeo and Juliet has the power to conquer hate, despite the consequences and sacrifices. The Friar and the prince, despite their enormous powers, have already failed to put an end to the feuding. Love still triumphs amidst adversity, shown by the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, when their father's shake hand and realize the "Poor sacrifices of our enmity". The play is ended not with despair but with peace in Verona. If the play had actually ended with death and not reconciliation, love would seem weak and shattered by the tragedy. It would have showed that nothing was gained and love was ruined in vain. However, the play ended in reconciliation, showing that love will not be lost for no reason, but brings more love with it despite sacrifices. English Coursework Work 1 Hinesh Mehta 10L ...read more.

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