How is forbidden love conveyed in both Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet and Malorie Blackmans Noughts and Crosses?

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How is forbidden love conveyed in both Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses?

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (c.1595) and Malorie Blackman’s 2001 Noughts and Crosses, the theme of forbidden love is greatly conveyed throughout both texts. The themes are similar in each text, regardless of the severe differences in era which are highlighted contextually throughout each of the works. Forbidden love is the foundation to which the downfalls of characters occur and is a key component to the storylines of both texts. In both works, the character’s downfalls are greatly contributed to by those surrounding the main protagonists. This allows for the surrounding characters to stand out as the causes for the bad happenings in both texts, as it is they who make the love forbidden and perhaps thus more desirable to the protagonists.

Sacrifice is a key theme in both works which helps to convey the way that both couples’ love is extremely important to the characters. Sacrifice is shown in Romeo and Juliet when they sacrifice their own lives because they are forbidden to be together. Romeo and Juliet sacrifice themselves because of what they believed in. The sacrifices also show that they would rather die than live without their love being allowed and accepted by the people around them. Juliet’s last words, “There rust and let me die”, emphasise the sacrifice that she makes upon learning of Romeo’s death. The words ‘let me’ show that Juliet wishes to be left to die, much in the way that she wanted to be allowed and left alone to love and be with Romeo. The idea of Juliet being allowed to die shows that she is making the sacrifice of her life as it is, in her mind, the only thing left that she can do which will be her own decision. She shows here that she wishes not to live without Romeo and without their love. The idea of Juliet lacking control over her future was a key concern in the Elizabethan era in which the play was written. This is down to the fact that young women like Juliet would have had decisions on big life choices often taken out of their hands. Fathers (or the head of the family) would often have the final say over who the daughter marries. This is shown in Juliet’s situation where her family have intentions for her to marry Count Paris, whilst she wishes to marry Romeo. Sacrifice is also conveyed in Romeo’s death in which before dying he says ‘here’s to my love.’ This allows the link between the couple’s sacrifice and their love being forbidden to become apparent through the way that Romeo states that his death is for his ‘love.’ Shakespeare’s use of the word ‘Here’s’ conveys that Romeo is killing himself for his love. Additionally, the word ‘here’s’ would usually be used in a kind of toast or tribute towards something. This allows for Romeo to glamorise his death by it being down to the love forbidden between the couple. The sacrifice in Romeo and Juliet coincides with Shakespeare’s famous genre of tragedy, which is conveyed throughout a number of his works but especially in Romeo and Juliet. David Scott Kastan suggests in his analysis that “Tragedy, for Shakespeare is the genre of uncompensated suffering.” I would agree with this idea as Shakespeare has incorporated this theory into Romeo and Juliet. The idea of the suffering being ‘uncompensated’ relates to the couple’s situation since they do not get any reward or gain for what they have endured in the end. This point relates to the couple making their individual sacrifices of life as these acts are uncompensated and unrewarded; they gain nothing from their actions. This idea of uncompensated sacrifice is down to the matter of their love being forbidden. The love being forbidden between the two characters results in the sacrifice of their own lives which shows how passionate both characters are about their love. It is conveyed in the language before each death that their sacrifices clearly link to their love being forbidden and frowned upon by others.
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Similarly, in Noughts and Crosses, Callum sacrifices his life for what he believes in. The ultimatum to sacrifice his life for the life of his baby or his baby’s life for his, results in Callum deciding to be executed. Much like in Romeo and Juliet, Sephy and Callum’s situation is out of their hands and out of their control. The people around them force the couple to make the decision as to who to sacrifice. Callum’s explanation that “He pulls the hood over my head. I try to pull back. I'm not trying to run away. I just ...

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