William Shakespeare examines the concepts of love in the tragic play Romeo and Juliet.

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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare examines the concepts of love in the tragic play Romeo and Juliet; this is show by the way Romeo’s character develops throughout various scenes in the play. Set in Verona ‘Romeo and Juliet’ conveys a tragic tale about true love and its difficult circumstances, with the themes of love, hatred and fate to evoke a feeling of empathy for Romeo and Juliet, at their time of need. I will be examining the presentation of Romeo throughout key scenes in the play and analysing the impact of certain events.    

The initial brawl between the Montagues and Capulets in Act1 Scene1 introduces the two families in the play as being vindictive and resentful.  Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, obviously hates the Montagues and stands out as being malicious and spiteful. While Romeo, who was not present at the initial brawl, seems distanced from his family and their hatred toward the Capulets. Shakespeare does this to allow the audience to see Romeo as a loving and peaceful person.

When the audience first begin to see Benvolio questioning his cousin Romeo about why he has been ‘so secret and so close’, he seems to be thoughtful and unaware of time from his remark ‘Is the day so young?’ This tells the audience that Romeo is distraught about losing Rosaline and seems detached from reality. Romeo continues to say ‘Ay me! Sad hours seem long’, this underlines Romeo depression since he sees time getting longer and longer because he is low-spirited. As Romeo questions his cousin Benvolio ‘what fray was here’ the audience begin to realise that Romeo is exasperated with the feud between his family and the Capulets.

Romeo, who is experiencing unrequited love, is very confused and depressed about why the Montagues and Capulets have to feud.  Shakespeare shows this by using oxymorons such as ‘Loving hate and brawling love’ to emphasise how Romeo is trying to understand why the two families are feuding. The contradictory images help the audience to empathise with Romeo’s state of disarray while Romeo continues expressing his feelings using elaborate metaphors such as ‘a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears’ to evoke a sense of sympathy for himself as he feels grief stricken about the unrequited love for Rosaline. This illustrates Romeo as a desperate man who sees love as a very sorrowful and distressing experience. Furthermore his use of rhyming couplets informs the audience of how this matter is emotionally important to Romeo. Which audience realise this as in Elizabethan drama where actors spoke in verse when something was significantly important.

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In the opening of Act3 Scene1 the marriage between Romeo and Juliet significantly changes Romeo’s state of mind and presents him as a loving and romantic person. Although Act3 Scene1 begins with the newly formed union between the Capulet and Montague families, Shakespeare juxtaposes the marriage with another confrontation to ultimately show that the two families will never be united. This is shown when Tybalt and Mercutio confront each other and Mercutio ridicules Tybalt in public by saying ‘And but a word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow’.  This comment ...

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