In what ways do the various types of love represented in Romeo and Juliet help you to understand the relationship of Romeo and Juliet? Examine the different types of love and analyse the language that Shakespeare uses to describe them.

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In what ways do the various types of love represented in Romeo and Juliet help you to understand the relationship of Romeo and Juliet? Examine the different types of love and analyse the language that Shakespeare uses to describe them.

Throughout Romeo and Juliet there are many different types of love being portrayed. I am going to look at the different types of love to see how they affect and represent Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other. There are four main types of love that are shown, the first type of love that I will examine is courtly love, this is represented by Romeo’s ‘love’ for Rosaline and also Paris’s ‘love’ for Juliet. The second type of love that I will explore is family love; this is mainly shown in the arguments and conflicts in the Capulet household. Family love and family conflict affected Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other because it was the feud between the Capulet and Montague families that forced Romeo and Juliet into hiding their relationship, getting married in secret without their families consent and in the end tragically taking their lives because of it. The third type of love that I will be examining is sexual love this is represented by Sampson and Gregory and also by Mercutio. These types of love are introduced by Shakespeare to highlight the fact that Romeo and Juliet’s love is the real thing; it shows that it isn’t courtly love or just sexual love but something really deep and special. The last love representation I am looking at is the love between Romeo and Juliet. Their fast moving relationship shows that it was love at first sight; it also shows us that they had strong commitment to each other as they quickly secured their relationship with marriage. Certain scenes represent their love strongly; these scenes are the party scene where they first met, the balcony scene where Romeo and Juliet define their love for each other and exchange vows and the scene where Juliet awaits Romeo. These representations of love also highlight the innocence of Romeo and Juliet’s feelings for each other, they fell in love with each other almost by accident because they did not know who each other was and didn’t know at the time that their families were sworn enemies. The representations of different types of love, are there as a comparison to Romeo and Juliet’s love, they distinguish that the sexual nature of their relationship is not lusty, sexual feelings but a deep commitment to each other as they pass over to adult sexual beings.

Courtly love was a tradition dating from the middle ages. It was a set of rules and expectations about they way lovers from aristocratic classes should behave. The man is expected to fall in love with a lady of higher social class and she would probably be married therefore unobtainable. The lady must spurn the man’s advances to protect her honour and good name, but her coldness inflames his passions. He feels dejected and attempts to make himself more worthy of the lady by performing deeds and having faith in the power of God. He neither eats nor sleeps for thinking of the lady, and is constantly suffering from jealous thoughts. One example of courtly love is Romeo’s ‘love’ for Rosaline. Romeo believes that he is in love with Rosaline, a character that is only ever a name, we never actually get to see her, this adds to the falseness of Romeo’s ‘love’ for her. Some lines during the scene, where Benvolio is attempting to find out what is wrong with Romeo, are spoken hyperbolically, for example Romeo says, “She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair” (act 1 sc1 215), exaggerating his feelings for Rosaline, adding to the falseness of his ‘love’ for her. He also uses oxymoron’s, a combination of contradictory words, for example, “feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health” (act 1 sc 1 74); this creates an even bigger falseness of his love because he uses things that aren’t possible to describe his love for Rosaline. Using poetic language such as this emphasizes the fact that it isn’t real love he is feeling but just courtly love. Love is also given a capital letter in part of his speech, “ From Love’s weak childish bow she lives unharmed” (act 1 sc 1 205), and this personifies the word making it seem not like a feeling but as an object or person. I think that this shows us that Romeo isn’t as much in love with Rosaline than he is with the idea of being in love.

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Another example of courtly love is Paris’ ‘love’ for Juliet. He attempts from very early on in the play to persuaded Capulet into giving his daughter to him in marriage but Capulet is unsure about whether or not his daughter is ready to be made a bride, he has a great affection for his daughter and wants her to be happy. But Capulet changes his mind about the marriage after the death of Tybalt, he believes that getting married will make her happy and stop her grieving over the death of Tybalt. Capulet probably thinks that Paris will be ...

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