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With close reference to language in Romeo and Juliet, write about the effects that love has on Romeo in Act One and Act Two and then compare the ways that Romeo and Juliet each speak of love.

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Introduction

Christopher Hassell - 11c With close reference to language in Romeo and Juliet, write about the effects that love has on Romeo in Act One and Act Two and then compare the ways that Romeo and Juliet each speak of love. When Romeo first enters, he is suffering from lovesickness for Rosaline. He displays typical signs of Petrarchan love, and throughout Act One and Act Two, we watch as he suddenly loses his obsession with Rosaline and develops a passionate desire for Juliet. This is shown by the way he communicates with the other characters, and by the way the other characters speak of Romeo in his absence There is evidence in the language that suggests that Juliet has different ideas about love than Romeo. While Lady Montague, Montague and Benvolio are talking of Romeo's recent behaviour, from lines 109 - 148, Benvolio speaks of Romeo being "underneath the grove of sycamore" (line 114), and in Shakespearian times the sycamore tree represented disappointed lovers. Shakespeare uses it here to show how upset Romeo was, because his love for Rosaline wasn't being returned. When Montague next speaks (lines 124 - 135), he speaks of how Romeo has been seen "Many a morning" in the woods "With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew". He is talking about how Romeo was hides himself away in the woods, where he can cry alone. He carries on to say that when dawn breaks (comparing dawn-break to the Roman goddess of dawn - Aurora, line 129), Romeo hides himself away in his room "making himself an artificial night" (line 133), clearly manifesting his heartache. From this, Romeo could be said to be very immature still because by hiding away in the woods during the early mornings, and by creating an "artificial night" during the day he is being very melodramatic. Also, in Shakespearean times boys matured from 16 - 18 and Romeo was 16 at the time, so it could be said that he hasn't yet matured. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo's response, like a lot of his language with Juliet, is very ornamental and unreal, "With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls". He is saying that Cupids wings gave him the power to break physical boundaries, but it could also be said to mean Juliet's sexual boundaries as well. Again, Juliet responds with very plain, down to earth language by saying "If they see thee they will murder thee.", and again Romeo responds with very unreal ornamental language "Look thou but sweet, and I am proof against their enemy. (lines 72 - 73)". By line 85, we can see than Juliet has had enough of Romeo's flowery language and just wants a straight answer. "If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully (line 94)" - Juliet wants Romeo to be truthful, and mean his answer, but she can almost predict that his answer will include swearing by something, and she says, "Yet if thou swear'st thou mayst prove false (lines 91 and 92)", so she wants Romeo not to swear, but to simply say, yes he does love her, but she wants it to come from his heart, and not just for his sexual needs. She also says "At lovers' perjuries, they say Jove laughs (lines 92 and 93)". Jove was the king of the Roman Gods, so she's saying, just be truthful and mean what you say. She has had enough of Romeo's flowery language. Romeo then goes on to say, "Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow, that tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops - (lines 107 and 108)", so it sounds as if Romeo hasn't really been listening to Juliet as she kept talking about him being truthful, instead he was just thinking about his new love, Juliet, and drinking in the atmosphere. He has done just what Juliet was telling Romeo not to do - swear by something and use his ornamental language, to say that the moon paints the tops of the fruit trees with silver. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Romeo first sets eyes on Juliet in this scene, they quickly exchange vows of love once again. Romeo speaks from lines 24 - 29 "Juliet, if the measure of thy joy be heaped like mine ... unfold the imagined happiness that both receive in either by this dear encounter." He is asking her to tell him about the happiness she imagines they will have in their marriage. Juliet answers by saying "Conceit, more rich in matter than in words, ... They are but beggars that can count their worth. But my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth." She is saying that her love cannot be expressed in words, and only beggars can express their love in words. She cannot even speak of half her wealth. Here again, you can see the contrast between Romeo's and Juliet's comments on love. Romeo is more or less saying, if you are as happy as I am, which makes it seem as if he can measure his happiness, this makes you question whether Romeo is marrying for love or for Juliet's beauty. Juliet, on the other hand, seems to be marrying for pure love because she says that she cannot express how happy she is. The last fourteen lines of that scene amount to an exchange of vows, and are only lacking the rhyming scheme of a sonnet, although the last couplet is given to the Friar as he whisks them away to get married. To conclude, I believe Romeo is affected greatly by love in Act One and Act Two. He changes from being very miserable and suffering from Petrarchan love for Rosaline, to obsessive love for Juliet. Romeo expresses his love with very ornamental language throughout the play, and it could be said he is making rash, immature decisions. Juliet, however, expresses her love for Romeo in a far more sensible, down to earth way. I believe Romeo's idea of love is more airy-fairy compared with Juliet's sensible, more mature ideas. ...read more.

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