He also says the she is ‘Like a rich Jewel in an Ethiop’s ear’. This shows how Juliet stands out compared with all of the other girls including Rosaline. By using this simile, Shakespeare introduces an aspect of preciousness to love; the jewel to a poor African would be very treasurable and if he’s not careful then the jewel or Juliet could be taken away from him i.e. by Paris.
Shakespeare purposefully makes references to the physical attributes of Juliet that attract Romeo as it conveys a youthful and very physical love that requires maturity.
The soliloquy that Romeo speaks comes to an abrupt halt as Tybalt interjects a feeling of bitter hatred. This juxtaposition of sour feelings reminds the audience that the love Romeo has will never kindle – it perhaps indicates that his love is very idealistic.
The first conversation between Romeo and Juliet is an extended Christian metaphor. Using this metaphor, Romeo ingeniously manages to convince Juliet to let him kiss her. However, in order to achieve a sense of true, sincere love, Shakespeare utilises religion further to convey a pure and divine love. The religious overtones of the conversation clearly imply that their love can be described only through the vocabulary of religion, that pure association with God. In this way, their love becomes associated with the purity and passion of the divine. Romeo refers to Juliet as a shrine that should be worshipped by his pilgrims or lips. ‘The holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, my lips two blushing pilgrims really stand’. Religious love is ultimately the highest form of love.
Romeo proposed to commit a “gentle sin” – kissing her. This phrase is an oxymoron as gentle meant noble and virtuous in the 16th Century while sin is the opposite. Its purpose is to remind the audience of the hatred between the two families but also supports the idea that their love is very confusing and unconventional concept.
Whilst their love can only be described through vocabulary of religion, demonstrating a potent and metaphysical love, a sense of youth and naivety is maintained through Romeo’s use of wit throughout the sonnet.
When Romeo and Juliet meet they speak just fourteen lines before their first kiss. These fourteen lines make up a shared sonnet, with a rhyme scheme the same used in the prologue and an iambic pentameter. A sonnet is a perfect, idealised poetic form often used to write about love. The use of the sonnet, however, also serves a second, darker purpose. The play’s prologue also is a single sonnet of the same rhyme scheme as Romeo and Juliet’s shared sonnet. The prologue sonnet introduces the play, and, through its description of Romeo and Juliet’s eventual death, also helps to create the sense of fate that permeates Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare purposefully does this to evoke the reader to deduce that this strong love can never actually materialise.
When their passion has been broken up and Juliet has to be lead away by her nurse to the mother, then they can both still feel their love for each other. They are desperate to find out who one another is, but when Romeo finds out his words are ‘my life is my foe’s debt’ and’ so I fear, the more is my unrest’. These both show how happy is that he has found his true love but he has a sense of foreboding because she is a Capulet. Juliet also senses this foreboding ‘my only love sprung from my only hate’ are strong words to show how she doesn’t know what will happen in the future, but she was in love with him before she knew his name and can’t change her feelings. Here, Shakespeare inspires a feeling of loss and perhaps dejection; Juliet appreciates that her parents will not allow her love to unfold - ‘my grave is like to be my wedding-bed’.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
This is a strong essay in terms of the analysis of structure and language. The examination of effects of the language chosen by Shakespeare is very detailed in places. There has been some attempt to contextualise the scene and consider its place within the whole play; specific textual references to other parts of the play could be included alongside the more general comments to show a clear understanding of the whole play. A summary that relates back to the question and the key scene would have enhanced the piece and enabled a more focused response to the essay title.