Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare, is a play, which shows love and hate as themes. Love has existed in many forms throughout time, although there is no better example than Romeo and Juliet. In this tale, when love is most apparent.
The most crucial events occur to develop this ‘tragedy’. The evident forms of love are love for friends, love for enemies and love between lovers. The story is set in a three-day period where Romeo and Juliet fall in love, have a secret marriage ceremony and die. The short time period helps provide us with a feeling that the love between the two characters was ‘love at first sight’. Over the years, Shakespeare’s tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet has been interpreted and changed in many different ways; but the main point is still found in every version, and that point is: true love, and the willingness to do anything for love.
The prologue is full of violent and negative language e.g. ancient grudge, civil blood, fatal lions, death- marked, rage. But also has words to do with love e.g. star crossed lovers.
You can already tell that this is going to be a love story with trouble, worry and violence in it.The play is based around two young lovers, both from rival families. At the very beginning of the play there is a civil brawl, which is flared off by more servants of the two houses Montagues and Capulets. Which for many years have been in an unsolvable feud. Whenever the two families meet, violence and death occurs, ‘Do u bite your thumb at me sir?’ is an example of provocative language form one of the servants.
This shows that there is both hatred and violence from the very start of the play. Later on in the play it helps the audience to believe in their love because they are both going against their families for one another, if it means being together. It also shows us how difficult the situation between Romeo and Juliet.In Act1 Romeo expresses his love of Rosaline to Benvolio, however she didn’t feel the same way about him.
He thought no women could be as fare as Rosaline, ‘She is o so beautiful’, although Benvolio had thought differently. Therefore Benvolio encouraged Romeo to go to Capulets feast and he predicted that Romeo would find other beauties more attractive then Rosaline. This was highlighted when Benvolio said ‘Compare her face with one that I show, And I will make the swan a crow’. What we see here is how strongly emotional Romeo is, and also shows his immaturity because he is so depressed and infatuated because of a girl that doesn’t love him back.
At this point in the play we, begin to see how sensitive and loving Romeo is. He is a highly respected person within Verona.Next we are introduced to Juliet, Paris wants to marry her but she doesn’t want to marry him. We begin to see a similarity between Romeo-Rosaline and Juliet and Paris: neither Juliet nor Rosaline want to marry. We see Juliet, as a very young independent mind, because she only believes you should marry the one you love and not just rush into marriage with someone she doesn’t want to marry for the sake of it, such as Paris.
‘ Ill look to like, if liking move; But the more deep will I endart mine eye, than your consent gives you strength to make it fly’, Meaning that she doesn’t like someone for their appearance, she has to love them. However the quote does suggest that she is ready for love, just not with Paris.Scene five is when Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio meet at Capulets feast.
Romeo does not want to dance he says ‘ I have a sole of lead, so take me to the ground, I cannot move.’ He is depressed because his love for Rosaline is too strong. Then when he spots Juliet, his love for Rosaline doesn’t exist and focuses on his new love. This shows us that in one sense Romeo’s love is fickle but it also shows us the start of this relationship and the element that is essential for this relationship to work, which is love at first sight. It is her beauty that captures him ‘So shows a snowy dove trooping with cows’.Romeo says that in crowd of other ladies, Juliet looks like a snow-white dove in the company of crows. Romeo and Juliet first see each other through a fish tank in the bathrooms. From then on, they are constantly being separated.
The fish tank serves as a metaphorical barrier that keeps the two lovers apart. Romeo took Juliet aside and they are finally face to face and he kisses her. The instantaneous bond that they seemed to have is full with love. The words they spoke and the feelings that they shared were so entrancing and romantic which makes us believe how strong their attraction for each other is.We also begin to think that Romeo is immature with love because the reason why he came to the ball was to see Rosaline, which he loved only moments before seeing Juliet. Then all of a sudden Juliet is the one for him.
We as the audience would think that Romeo is a womaniser, and doesn’t really know what he wants. So at this time we don’t really think his love is true.The next piece of Violence occurs when Tybalt finds out that Romeo is at the feast. Immediately Tybalt wants to kill Romeo however Capulet tells him not to because it will ruin his party, and Romeo is very respected in the city so if he was killed at Capulets party many people would turn against them .The Prince had also given the two families a final warning about their behaviours therefore Capulet didn’t want any problems.
Juliet then finds out who Romeo really is and vice versa, ‘My only love sprung from my only hate’, we now get the impression that it is love at first sight. However it’s too late, Juliet has now fallen in love with a Montague. Juliet is only 13 years old therefore probably hasn’t ever been in love before. So we get the impression that love is a fresh inventive thing she has discovered. By the end of this scene, they are both madly in love with each other, although they can both see the risk that they are taking with their families but neither is willing to give in.
This show that there love is strong, in order to go behind their families to be with each other.Later in the balcony scene Romeo sneaks in to see Juliet again, this shows that Romeo will risk the punishment of death if he is caught. This helps us to see the risks that Romeo will take to see Juliet. In this famous scene, the two declare their love for each other.
‘It is the East and Juliet is the sun,’ is a metaphor, so everything that represents the sun he sees her, she is blindingly beautiful like the sun. His attraction to her is far too strong now to ignore. They both are prepared to deny there family for each other, ‘be but sworn my love, and I will no longer be a Capulet.’Towards the end of this scene they decide to get married ‘Thy purpose marriage send me word tomorrow,’ they seem to be rushing into something they don’t know how it will turn out. They are interrupted by the nurse, which emphasises that Romeo and Juliet’s moments are only brief and secretive.
‘Parting is such as sweet sorrow,’ this is an example of oxymoron, either of then want to be parted. We are now believing that their love is strong, the duration of the time they have been together reflects their love and loyalty towards each other.Straight after the balcony scene Romeo confronts Friar Lawrence.
This shows how serious his love to Juliet really is by visiting Friar Lawrence and asks him to take their hands in marriage. As Romeo is up early he thinks that he has spent the night with Rosaline, but Romeo explains his change in love for Juliet. Friar Lawrence thinks that he is only interested in her beauty, ‘ so soon forsaken? Young men’s love so dear, not truly in their hearts but in their eyes.’He finds it fascinating how quickly his love for Rosaline had changed, he does not believe utterly in their love. Although we think that their love for each other is much stronger now, because they are both taking things to a further level and getting married. However in the end he agrees to marry them because he thinks that it would bring peace to the two feuding families.
Friar Lawrence at the end of this scene says, ‘Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.’ This is a metaphoric phrase, he believes they are going too fast and should think about what they are doing before its too late.
We think that Friar Lawrence is correct in saying that they should wait and get to know each other better.Tybalt issued a challenge in response to Romeo going to the Capulet’s ball. We see this scene as a bit of relief from the other heavier scenes.
Benvolio and Mercutio tease Romeo because he still thinks that Romeo is in love with Rosaline, little do they know that he now loves Juliet. The nurse enters; Mercutio and Benvolio begin to mock her, with sexual jokes. This adds a bit of humour to the play, which also helps with the idea that this scene is a relief in comparison to the others, ‘Farewell ancient lady: farewell lady lady lady,’ is an example of Mercutio’s humorous word play. ‘ Thou wouldst else have made they tale large,’ is another example of sexually meaning towards the nurse. The nurse warns Romeo not to take advantage of Juliet’s innocence and only to ask for his loyalty to her.The plans are made; wedding arrangements for the following day have been completed.
This adds to the idea that both Romeo and Juliet are serious about this sudden proposal. Juliet waits impatiently to for the nurse to deliver her good news. However the nurse is leaving her in suspense, the nurse frustratingly delays the news for Juliet, by complaining of headaches, ‘Lord, how my headaches!’ and back pains: ‘How my bones ache,'(dramatic irony) after her long trudge around Verona. Juliet is extremely eager to find out what Romeo had said: her heart has grown eager in the short duration of time they have known each other. The mood between the nurse and Juliet also makes us impatient. When Juliet finds out about the good news she is overwhelmed. This scene helps lighten the tone of the play; it takes us away from the violence to a happier approach.The next scene is where Romeo and Juliet secretly meet at Friar Lawrence’s cell.
The Friar is less enthusiastic about the proposal because he thinks that something is going to go extremely wrong, because the Friar is a wise person we also think the same ‘So smile the heavens upon this holy act, that after-hours with sorrow chide us not.’ We now are too unsure if they are doing the right thing, perhaps they are going to fast, which is shown in the short period of the play. ‘Violent deaths have violent ends,’ is a phrase used by Friar Lawrence telling Romeo that their marriage may be risky and dangerous. Romeo and Juliet express their love for each other and are finally married.Tybalt wants to fight Romeo because he was seen at the ball, however Romeo refuses to be provoked in such a manner.
He is committed to Juliet therefore he should not be putting Juliet under the position of choosing between her family and husband, although we know that she would deny her family to be with him. Tybalt is provoked by Mercutio but ignores his existence and focuses on Romeo. ‘Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels?’ Mercutio is saying that Tybalt’s sword is a fiddlestick, which makes him angry.Tybalt insults Romeo yet he reacts calmly and tries to make peace with him for the sake of his love with Juliet. This reflects how much he really cares about her and family, the Capulets are no longer his enemy. In a sense Friar Lawrence is correct, he thought that is Juliet and Romeo marry then the feud between the families will no longer exists. However it is only Romeo and Juliet, which have less, hate towards their opposing families.’Thou art a villain,’ are Tybalt’s words against Romeo however he replies ‘doth much excuse the appertaining rage, to such a greeting.
Villain am I none.’ This he is simply ignoring the immature argument, which has risen for no apparent good reason, does not insult Romeo. Then Mercutio’s death triggers anger towards Tybalt so now Romeo wishes to seek revenge. Mercutio’s death adds a slight air of humour.
Although he is dying he still jokes about it ‘Ay ay, a scratch,’ and ‘its not as deep as a well or as wide as a church door,’ Mercutio described his wound as a scratch indicating it was given to him by a cat (Tybalt) A difference in mood is seen where Mercutio says ‘ Ask for me morrow and you shall find me a grave man,’ he is now taking death seriously. ‘Plague on both of your houses,’ is repeated, which reflects the amount of death and torture within the two families.Romeo is extremely upset and angry towards Tybalt however his love for Juliet has weakened his courage to fight back, ‘ The beauty hath made me effeminate.’ This shows us that his love for Juliet is a lot stronger because it has changed what his heart desires, which is now peace and no fighting. Romeo is so full of anger at this time due to Mercutio’s death that he kills Tybalt and flees before the officer arrive. This scene is full of irony because Romeo married Juliet then he killed Juliet’s cousin and has been banished from Verona. This makes a bigger barrier between them, which makes it harder for them to love each other because they are prevented from being together. Harmony as not been the result of this marriage so far, there has been more deaths then happy times.
In scene two, Juliet is awaiting her husband so that they can spend the first night together ‘ Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night.’ However Juliet does not know about her cousin’s death. Juliet sits dreaming about Romeo, when the nurse comes in grieving about Tybalt’s death. At first Juliet thinks that it is Romeo who as died and she feels awful and distraught.
The nurse describes the event as if both Tybalt and Romeo are dead and Juliet feels alone and useless ‘My dearest cousin and my dearer lord?’ Then she finally understands what happened ‘O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!’ She doesn’t believe that Romeo would kill her cousin.She has only known Romeo for a few days therefore he is a stranger to her, so she will not know what he is like. This is a huge test within their marriage, but proves how much she loves him and the amount of loyalty she provides, because she forgives him.
This also is evidence that both of them had rushed into marriage and perhaps they should’ve gotten to know each other, at this time I doubt there love. ‘Shame of Romeo,’ the nurse criticizes Romeo so Juliet gets angry with her. Juliet feels split into two, she is grieving about Tybalt’s death but also she is missing Romeo, and now that they cannot see each other she is even more distraught. She loves Romeo dearly and convinces herself that there was a very good reason for Romeo killing Tybalt.
This scene we can definitely believe utterly in their love.Romeo prefers to be killed then banished because he is prevented to see Juliet. He would rather be dead without Juliet; this reflects how much he loves her, and how strong their love is for each other ‘T is torture and not mercy. Heaven is here where Juliet lives.
‘ She mourns more for Romeos banishment then Tybalt’s death; she has chosen her new husband over her family. This is evidence that she will deny her family for the one that she loves. The duration of this play is very fast, and all characters are getting caught in a muddle there is not much time to look back.
Romeo and Juliet finally share the night with each other, but his visit is only brief he must leave; however Juliet tried to delay him ‘therefore stay yet; thou need’st not be gone.’ The audience can now see that they both really want to be with each there even if the risk is high for them to get caught. The emotive language, which they share, indicates to the audience how much they love each other.They have one further problem; Juliet is being forced to marry Paris, but she is married to Romeo, this is bigamy if she marries him. We as the audience begin to think that all these events are not just coincidences but fate is working hard against them, however they fight back and don’t give up. This highlights how much they love each other.
Either of then can get out of their situations the only way that they can be together is if they die together. Therefore Juliet meets Friar Lawrence at his cell and expresses herself, she doesn’t want to marry Paris because her love for Romeo is too strong, however she does want to be with him but Banishment prevents her. Friar Lawrence realizes how she feels and comes up with a very risky and dangerous plan. She agrees to it, although does have a few reservations about it, she does it so that she can e with Romeo but also risks her life.The plan involves Juliet taking a potion that will make her cold and look as if she is dead. Friar Lawrence was meant to send word by servant to Romeo but the message did not get there, this was another important coincidence.
Therefore Romeo finds Juliet dead; well that’s what he thinks, so he immediately commits suicides to be with her. However coincidently Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo by her side, and she also commits suicide. This reflects both of their love for each other; they both feel life isn’t worth living without either of them. The deaths of the lovers could have been prevented if Romeo has received the message or if he could of gotten to Juliet a bit earlier. This is an example of more fates playing against them.I think that the fact that they take their own lives, because they can’t be with each other proves to the audience how much they are in love. They both sacrifice their families for each other, which is an example of a huge sacrifice they were willing to take in order to share lives with each other. The ending is the biggest way to help en able the audience to believe utterly in their love.
The play seems very compressed, this adds to the intensity of the relationship, everything that has happened due to fate. They have mad the biggest sacrifice by killing themselves, so this concludes that there love is utterly believable.