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What developments do you notice in the characters of Romeo and Juliet in Act 1 to Act V?

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What developments do you notice in the characters of Romeo and Juliet in Act 1 to Act V? At the beginning of the play, Romeo's love is unfocused, and his infatuation for Rosaline is unreturned. He is love-sick and moans on about his state, "Tut I have lost myself, I am not here. This is not Romeo, he's some other where." He is self absorbed with his misery, and his love presents itself as being very artificial, and he compares his love to being trapped in prison, "Not mad, but bound more than a madman is; shut up in prison, kept without my food, whipped and tormented." He strikes a Petrachan pose, and his speech is conventional and artificial, full of oxymorons, "Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!" which suggest a very confused and chaotic state of mind. We can also see that he creates himself an artificial setting for sadness, making himself an `artificial night', and the way he suddenly breaks into "Where shall we dine?" in the middle of his mourning further confirm that what he has for Rosaline is merely an infatuation. Upon meeting Juliet, he is struck by her beauty, and now often associates her with light, "So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows", and they reflect his sincerity of getting to know her, and the genuine love which he holds for Juliet. ...read more.


For instance, he tells him he should be afraid of the dead in the tomb, to run away and to later say "a madman's mercy bid me run away". Later however, he fights Paris without asking for his name, and finds out only after he has slain Paris that he has slain another of the Prince's kinsmen. The last bit shows, again, that Romeo is still very rash. At the beginning of the play, Juliet shows herself to be an obedient and well-brought up girl, and her responses are submissive and simple, "What is your will?" and "It is an honour I dream not of", which are very proper replies and show nothing of what she really feels. We see her as a na�ve girl who is stranger to the ways of the world. She follows the wishes of her mother and accepts it without questioning, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move. But no more will I endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it fly." The nurse also describes her as a `lamb', and we can see this is so, from her docile and simple nature. Capulet also describes her as `a stranger in the world", showing her to be inexperienced and unaccustomed to the ways of the world. Upon meeting Romeo, Juliet is bold and resolute in her declaration of love, and she even flirts a little, "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake." ...read more.


She is rational, first she tries to argue and beg her parents for a way out, upon failing, turning to the Nurse, and upon failing on that to Friar Lawrence. When Juliet has the potion, she thinks of fearful things that might happen should anything go wrong, "Should I not be distraught, environed with all these hideous fears", and how it is possible the Friar is trying to save his reputation. However, she still makes herself take the potion in hope of a solution, and her ability to overcome all these and remain loyal to her cause shows a greater maturity. Later in the play, when Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo dead, she does not run away from the situation but faces up to the reality and situation, "Go get thee hence, I will not run away". She is not an escapist and it took tremendous courage to use the dagger to kill herself. Throughout the play, the characters show tremendous development, but Juliet's character develops significantly more than Romeo in that aspect, and we see a greater change in her character, which continues to change till the end of the play. However, the Romeo we see in Act V still remains very much like the Romeo we see in Act 3, and his impulsive nature carries till the end of the play. The shrewd decisive character of Juliet we see at the end of the play is very different from the obedient, docile girl we saw in Act 1. ...read more.

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