Shakespeare presents love in many different ways throughout the play.
He uses a great variety of different types of love as well. Different types of love he shows include courtly love, romantic love, true love, fickle love and instant love. Shakespeare wrote the play in the 16th century so it had to be relevant to the times but what makes this play stand out is the way that due to the major use of love to show emotions means that it is still relevant to today’s audience.
An example of this is Baz Luhrmanns movie interpretation of Romeo and Juliet which was an award winning success.Courtly love originated in the Middle Ages where a noble or rich maid would be in complete control and the gentleman would often admire her from afar before trying to make a move on her. Shakespeare does the same thing with Romeo and Juliet, showing her as the one in control and Romeo is the one having to work and impress her. He does this through the use of emotive language and taking great risks just to be near her. Shakespeare also shows Juliet in a higher position on the stage to Romeo. For example, probably the best known scene of the whole play is where Juliet “appears aloft” and talks down to Romeo.By being above Romeo it makes him look up to talk to her and the audience can see that she is in has total control of the situation and of Romeo.
During the conversation Romeo refers to her as a “bright angel” the use of the word angel suggests to the audience that he thinks her to be pure and almost goddess like. The use of the word bright could suggest that even when they are apart he can still see her. This way of presenting the relationship between Romeo and Juliet means that Shakespeare can show brilliantly well how Romeos feelings are greater for her than for Roseline. Also in act 1 scene 5 he says that “my life is my foes debt”. When he says this he is talking to Juliet and as the audience sees it he is saying that he owes his life to her. This is a massive thing to say and the audience really can see that he is serious about his feelings.
Shakespeare shows Romeo as a true romantic who is not sensible in love and thinks or it more as an adventure. Within the first few hours of knowing Juliet he takes great risks just to be near her which really shows the audience that Romeo is willing to give it all up just be with her. When Juliet says that if he is caught he will be killed he just replies “alack there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords” In a way he is saying that his love for her is far more dangerous than twenty swords and he would rather love her and have twenty sword come at him than not love her at all. This romantic image of Romeo depicted by Shakespeare may seem over the top but it leaves the audience in no doubt about whether he loves her or not.Through the use of romeos romantic language, a soliloquy and a ryming couplet form Shakespeare shows that Romeo falls instantly in love with Juliet and that his love is real rather than him just showing off to Marcutio and Benviloi. During the party after just seeing Juliet at the party he ponders as to who the beautiful lady is.
Whilst doing this he says to himself”o she doth teach the torches to burn bright!It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night”If he had said this to someone at the party then the audience may have doubted the integrity of what he said but through the use of a soliloquy he reveals his inner thought to the audience. Also by doing this Shakespeare proves to the audience that Romeos love for Juliet is real. Then use of a rhyming couplet by Shakespeare shows the heightened emotions of love and emphasises certain words. One of these is “torches”. By using the word torch, Shakespeare suggests that Juliet suggests that Juliet stands out and that she is like a light for Romeo.Through the use of Roseline and the fact that the audience never sees her Shakespeare shows that love can be fickle.
Through the use of stage craft Shakespeare shows the audience that Romeo has replaced Roseline with Juliet. He does this when Romeo asks the question”what lady’s that which doth enrich the handof yonder knight?”The strange thing about this for the audience is that they are expecting it to be about Roseline as that is who Romeo had been going on about for the duration of the play to this point but for them to find it is actually about Juliet is a shock. Shakespeare uses the word “enrich” to show Romeos romantic idealism. Enrichment is to make something better so what Romeo is saying is that just by being near Juliet he is made a better person, which after spending most of the play so far saying how perfect and beautiful Roseline is, to then turn around and say actually Juliet is the one for me really shows how fickle his love is.Overall I think that Shakespeare uses love to present most things in the play. It is due to this which makes Romeo and Juliet still relevant to a modern audience.