How is love presented throughout Romeo and Juliet ?

Authors Avatar by reecebucklehotmailcouk (student)

Shakespeare foreshadows, in the prologue, that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is already destined to a harsh fate. Shakespeare implies the idea that because of the ‘continuance of their parents’ rage’ the death of both Rome and Juliet is necessary to bring their families feud to an end. And nothing else except their ‘children’s’ death ‘could remove’.  Shakespeare has done this to hint the idea of their relationship is subjected to an undesirable outcome.

When Shakespeare says ‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life’ he may also be implying something else rather than just the idea that their fate is written in the stars to die. The word ‘Cross’d’ could have been a religious reference derived from Christianity and when Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross.

Different readers would gather the idea that because of the long-lasting ‘ancient grudge’ between the Capulet and Montagues, that something bad instinctively will happen to Romeo and Juliet. This links to the theme of love and relationships because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet has already been jinxed from the moment they were born.

In their first impressions, Shakespeare has used a metaphor to exaggerate on how much Romeo is infatuated by Juliet. ‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright’ gives the impression that Juliet is so bright that she even lightens up other light sources, and that she is Romeo’s light source. However, this poetic exaggeration is clearly wrong as torches can’t be taught how to ‘burn bright’. So Shakespeare could have done this to make you question whether Romeo’s love is genuine love-at-first-sight or just a result of short-term infatuation based on her physical looks.

This point also links to when Romeo questions his past love with Rosaline to his current ‘love’ with Juliet ‘did my heart love till now?’ The audience could react to this either thinking that this is genuine love-at-first-sight as its strong enough to overpower his last love for Rosaline. Or that this is just another example of where Romeo thought he was in love, like with Rosaline, but not genuinely in love. Shakespeare might have put this character Rosaline in the play before Juliet so you can see that Romeo’s love for Juliet may or may not be different.

In contrast to this, Shakespeare has given Juliet a completely different first impression to Romeo’s which is ‘My only love sprung from my only hate’.  The juxtaposition between ‘love’ and ‘hate’ suggests that Juliet is more realistic and more future-planning than Romeo by having both emotions and potential outcomes in her head (even if she isn’t very well-planned herself).  

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The use of the world ‘Only’ also foreshadows the feeling that this could be her first and only relationship.  Shakespeare may have done this to remind the audience that their relationship is destined for doom. This links to parts of the prologue which also evokes this idea.

Different readers could also be confused on which emotion is stronger, either the ‘love’ or the ‘hate’ part. Shakespeare may have done this to suggest the idea of weighing scales between the ‘love’ and ‘hate’ and which are both respectively in conflict with each other. This reminds the audience that because of the ...

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