To what extent do Romeo and Juliet mature through the course of the play?
Throughout the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ many characters experience significant changes bought about by extraordinary circumstances. In particular, Romeo and Juliet change considerably during the course of the play
Shakespeare presents Romeo at the start of the play as immature and often childish. In Act III Scene 1 Romeo kills Tybalt because he killed his friend Mercutio “alive, in triumph! And Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respectively lenity and fire-eyed fury be my conduct now. This quote shows the audience that Romeo has a lack of mentality and violence is his only solution to mercutio death. Romeo is to be in love with Rosaline but soon realises Rosaline does not love him and Romeo becomes lovesick and acts immaturely toward Rosaline. Romeo states his love sick and sad feelings by saying “why, such is love’s transgressions. Grief’s of mine own lie heavy in my breast, which “though wilt propagate, to have it prest with more of thine. This love that thou hast shown doth add more grief to too much of my own (I: I, 33-39). This is an example of the immature and superficial love Romeo has for Rosaline and now his grieving. Romeo’s friend Benvolio persuades him to go to the Capulet ball where “sups the fair Rosaline” and “compare her face” and “I will make thee think thy swan a crow” (Act 1 scene 1). Benvolio is concerned about his dear friend Romeo and wants him to have a bit of fun by going to the Capulet’s ball but at the same time keeping an eye on other ladies and comparing them to Rosaline. Romeo agrees with Benvolio by saying “I’ll go along, however he believes he will “rejoice in splendour of mine own” (Act 1 scene 1). Showing that Romeo doesn’t believe he will forget about Rosaline and thus become a more mature and dependable character.
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Juliet’s attitude towards her parents is very rational as her parents want her to get married to Paris and are very excited about it. But in return Juliet doesn’t show the same attitude to her parents as she does not want to get married (at least not with Paris). Juliet demonstrates her disobedience and lack of respect in the world, outlining her as not experienced and in many ways not dependant on her parents and nurses. Paris politely asks Capulet for her hand and would want Juliet to be mother as physically as possible.” Younger then she are happy mothers made” (1.2.12). Juliet, on the other hand, has no interest in becoming a wife and the mother of Paris’s children: “(marriage) is an honour that I dream not of” (1.3.68). When Paris is mentioned to Juliet by her mother in act three she reverts back to immature, whining, almost juvenile state.
Romeo finally meets a girl called Juliet by coincidence at the Rose Ball and from there on they both fall in love at first sight. Romeo realises he has never truly loved before” If I this holy shrine,” my lips, two blushing pilgrims’ (act 1 scene 1) that Romeo’s love for Juliet is real and he realises his destiny is with Juliet. At this point the audience cannot be sure that his feelings for Juliet are any more genuine thou those he professed for Rosaline. Romeo becomes crazed by his thoughts of Juliet and has to see her again. Romeo appears at Juliet’s bedroom and exchanges romantic words with her Romeo says “but, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun”. He equates her with the splendour of the sun and goes on to say he is “far more fair” Juliet replies saying “ay me!” Romeo then says “she speaks: o speak again, bright angel! He calls her an angel and a “winged messenger of heaven” creating the image of wonder perfection. Juliet replies “Deny thy father and refuse thy name;” or, “I’ll no longer be a Capulet”. Romeo and Juliet love each tremendously and they will both go to great depth to see each other again and forever be in love with each other. Juliet will no longer be a Capulet and will rather be sworn to her love. Romeo is amazed when Juliet speaks and can no longer be away from her he says to her “O, speak again, bright angel”. Romeo’s love for Juliet at the moment she speaks is increased and he can not bear her not speaking. The denial of their parentage is a serious issue and shows an increasing awareness of the situation and maturity needed to handle it.
At first Romeo gives some consideration to the situation and the difficulties that will arise but he has called upon fate to “direct my sail” and acknowledges that it “has the steerage of my course”. This decision to allow fate to steer his course could demonstrate either increasing maturity or shows a lack of care about the future in a childish way.
Romeo also displays a growing maturity when he asks Juliet to marry him. Not only does Romeo arrange the secret marriage but also is accepted and helped by the friar and Juliet nurse. This is another characters opinion showing Romeo growing maturity.
Romeo soon realises his decisions over the few hours have made him in to a rather mature young man whose entire love is focused upon his undeniable love for Juliet. An example of this will be is when Romeo refuses to brawl with Tybalt even though his friends are cheering him and encouraging him to use violence. “I do protest, I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou canstt device, till thou shalt know the reason of my love: and so, good Capulet,-which name I tender as dearly as my own, be satisfied”. Romeo says this to Tybalt because he no longer wishes to fight Tybalt or any other Capulet. Instead Romeo does the more mature act and befriends all who hold the Capulet name, including his long time foe, Tybalt. He asks Tybalt to “be satisfied” and does not enter in to argument as he would of have in the past.
Romeo is a changed man however and was full of concern for the negative outcome for others and himself. When Romeo felt that a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio was a child like act, he tried to break it up. This, however resulted in death of Mercutio and later led to death of Tybalt as a result of Romeo’s aggressive act of vengeance. Romeo’s obsession over Juliet grows, he tends to make quick decisions in an immature way and showing a remaining immaturity when without actually thinking things through which often result in tragic outcomes. When Balthasar says to Romeo “her body sleeps in capel’s monument” Balthasar breaks the news to Romeo about Juliet death. Romeo replies saying “is it even so? Then I defy you, starts!” I will hence to-night”. Romeo immediately heads back to Verona before in fact knowing whether or not the statement is true and again displays immature compulsiveness of the play.
At the outset his story, Romeo displays youthful behaviour and child-like actions. However, after “love at first sight” encounter with Juliet, he portrays himself to be a more developed young man but still shows lack of maturity at times. As you can see, he let his mind go too far which resulted in a complete dilemma. In conclusion, Romeo changes noticeably in one element of his personality but remains immature in others.
Juliet appears to be more mature then Romeo especially bearing in mind she was the younger one. She is young and immature and has never been in love. It seems that she must enjoy being charmed by a young elegant man that is Romeo. Juliet had thought things through and was not as desperate as Romeo was in search of love. Juliet was not as persistent as Romeo was she didn’t she too couldn’t love Romeo after only meeting him after four hours before they decided to marry.
This resulted in Romeo murdering himself over Juliet’s false death, and Juliet committing suicide because of Romeo’s death. All in all, Romeo would have been better of had he not been completely obsessed by his love for Juliet which caused him to act upon his emotions rather then rational thoughts. Unlike Romeo who was as ever in a rush he had confessed his feelings for Juliet as quickly as possible. “O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?” Romeo is being more the dominant person he wants things to happen so therefore he is being spontaneous and impatient, where as Juliet is possibly shocked by is impulsive proposal since she is not fully mindful of what he is suggesting. From there on Romeo and Juliet insane decisions which had a big impact on their lives.
This resulted in Romeo murdering himself over Juliet’s false, and Juliet committing suicide because of Romeo’s death. All in all, Romeo would have been better of had he not been completely obsessed by his love for Juliet which caused him to act upon his emotions rational thoughts.Juliet however has shown an in caring level of maturity throughout the play and it is only Romeo’s lack of thought that causes the plan she and the friar made to fail.