Romeo and Juliet Essay

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Literature Essay on Romeo and Juliet Themes.
  Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy play written by William Shakespeare about two young protagonist lovers resulting in the death of both. The play draws a similarity with love and marriage life in Shakesp earean England and Shakespeare’s point of view on  love and hate. Despite being two antonymic ideas, Shakespeare links the two emotions in an unusual relationship where one cannot exist without the other. His representation is represented through the manipulation of literary elements and devices, including foreshadowing, dramatic irony, and juxtaposition. Shakespeare’s prologue portrays a sophisticated love -hate relationship. The prologue not only establishes the scene, but also uses foreshadowing to give a hint of the events to occur. This is shown in lines 4-7 as quoted : ‘From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star -crossed lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.  We find the foreshadowing the event of two lovers (who are later revealed as Romeo and Juliet), which represent love, flourishing from hate in the opposing families (Montagues and Capulets).Shakespeare also uses powerful language to stress the tragedy yet to come. This is shown in lines 9: ‘The fearful passage of their death- marked love’. The use of words such as fearful passage and death-marked challenge suggest the difficult challenges the protagonists have to overcome. During the first meet between Romeo and Juliet, they experience an emotion of love for each other never experienced ever before. We find that they are from conflicting families, as foreshadowed in the prologue. Act 1 Scene 5 Lines 91- 109, the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet, is in fact simply one religious Christian metaphor, laced with many religious metaphors e.g. ‘Holy shrine’, ‘Good pilgrim’. The use of religious words imply that their love can only be associated with God, in this way associated with the eternal. This is shows the considerable measure of love for each other. The concept l ove triumphs over hate is also shown by Juliet as she successfully tries to forget the family’s hate on the Montagues, due to her overpowering love for Romeo. Juliet mentions that she will deny her Capulet name if it means she can be with Romeo, as shown i n 2.2.35: ’Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’ The line shows the overpowering love over hate, and that the burgeoning love between each other is almost impossible to halt. Friar Lawrence personally believes if the two lovers marry despite the family issues, the hate represented between the two families will eventually stop, as shown in 2.4.88: ‘For this alliance may so happy prove To turn your households’ rancour to pure love.’ The quote means that the alliance betw een Romeo and Juliet will form a basis for an alliance between the Montagues and Capulets, as mentioned. Puns are widely used in the play, where words suggest multiple meaning. This device is used in Romeo and Juliet when one deceives another although one's phrase is literally the truth. This is best shown in Juliet's conversation with Lady Capulet in Act 3 Scene 5 Lines 93-95; Juliet says as quoted: 'Indeed I never shall be satisfied With Romeo, till I behold him - dead - Is my poor heart, so for a kinsman vexed. The sentence has two meanings. Lady Capulet, disapproving Romeo as Juliet's husband since he is a Montague, interprets the sentence as: 'Indeed I never shall be satisfied With Romeo, till I behold him dead - Is my poor heart, so for a kinsman vexed.' Juliet, from Lady Capulet's opinion is showing her hate on Romeo, of which she is satisfied. However Juliet, who secretly admires Romeo states it as: 'Indeed I never shall be satisfied With Romeo, till I behold him - dead Is my poor heart, so for a kinsman vexed.' This meaning shows Juliet's love for Romeo. Love and hate are represented together through the use of pun, where one meaning represents love and the other represents hate.  Shakespeare not only reveals love as the dominant emotion, he also describes the dominance in terms of its many forms. These obscene aspects can be reveals through the juxtaposition of Romeo’s emotional experience with Juliet and Rosaline. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is more of lust and craze compared to his love to Juliet, which is more genuine and true-hearted. This is shown in the comparison between Romeo’s views on them. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is seen as: ‘She’ll not be hit with Cupid’s arrow…She will not stay the siege of loving terms, nor bid th’encounter of assailing  eyes, nor ope her lap to saint- seducing gold…She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste; For beauty starved with her severity cuts beauty off from all posterity.’, where on the contrary Romeo’s love for Juliet is seen as: ‘ But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. ’ Romeo has a desire for physical love with Rosaline, as shown when he says ‘Ope her lap top sain- seducing gold’ where gold refers to offspring. However the emotional love is best portrayed thro ugh Romeo’s love for Juliet, where he uses religious metaphors to associate this high level of emotional love with the divine. Although both instances are examples of love, they vary in terms in what way the love is expressed. It is therefore clear Shakespeare is able to convey his different forms of love e.g. physical and true emotional love. Other than love, Shakespeare also portrays hate in Romeo and Juliet. Hate itself is best represented through the fight between the two families in the fight scene in Act 3 Scene 1. Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin and Romeo’s short -tempered cousin, is revealed about his hate for the Montagues, displaying the emotion of hate. It is shown in 3.1.54: ‘Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford No better term than this: thou art a villain.’ Tybalt is treating Romeo as an enemy, i.e. showing his hate upon Romeo, therefore the Montagues in general.
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