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Romeo and Juliet Essay

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Romeo and Juliet is a story based on the polarities of love and hate. The feud between two families and the love between Romeo and Juliet. Before the Banquet scene there is a fight between the Montague’s and Capulet’s which was started by an “airy word” which means something insignificant, however Romeo, one of the main characters of the play, wasn’t present at the fight. At the banquet Romeo meets Juliet for the first time and falls deeply in love with her, instantly forgetting about an earlier obsession with a lady named Rosaline.

At the start of the play the audience are introduced to the character Romeo, who seems to be very much in love with “the idea of being in love. ” In the first scene we don’t see Romeo and therefore want to see the rest of the play to find out what he is like. When we see Romeo for the first time he is alone, walking slowly by some woods. When Romeo first speaks he speaks in riddles. These riddles are known as Paradox’s and Oxymoron’s. These are sentences or two consecutive words that contradict each other in an intriguing way.

For example “Cold Fire” is an oxymoron as it is two words that clash as something cannot be hot and cold at the same time. One of the paradox’s Romeo uses is ” Feather of Lead” as it is a statement that contradicts itself, as a feather is light and symbolises good where as lead is heavy and could symbolise evil. This could mean that Romeo is as light as a feather as he is in love with Rosaline but is as heavy as lead as she doesn’t reciprocate his love. Another Oxymoron Romeo uses is “o loving hate. This implies that he loves Rosaline with all his heart but hates the fact that she doesn’t love him back.

This is a perfect example of Courtly love, which was a European tradition where a man would fall in love with someone way out of his league. In this case, Rosaline is seen to be way out of Romeos league. In the play Romeo and Juliet’s love contrasts sharply with the love between Capulet and Lady Capulet. We know this as Shakespeare shows Romeo and Juliet’s love is passionate and young where as Juliet’s parents have a much older and more experienced love.

In the first scene this is obvious as when Capulet hears about the fight he asks for his sword but Lady Capulet mocks him and sarcastically replies ” A crutch, A crutch. ” This shows that she is teasing him about his age which shows a good relationship as they can joke about things such as age. Shakespeare emphasises the two types of love to show that if it is really love it will begin fun and end in a more exciting way when it finishes. When Romeo describes Juliet in the party scene he uses imagery of light and dark.

Romeo suggests that Juliet does “teach the torches to burn bright. A metaphor representing Juliet’s beauty makes her stand out from the rest of the women around her. Also the alliteration “burns bright” puts a sparkle into the sentence. She is also expected to be better at being bright as it says she has to “teach” which in order to teach someone you need to be better than the rest. In addition, the metaphor Romeo uses to compare Juliet to a “rich jewel” that “hangs” from an “Ethiope’s ear” suggests that Juliet is rare and precious. The light and Dark of this situation tells us that, like a black sheep, in a flock of white sheep, Juliet stands out.

In my opinion I would prefer the “Rich Jewel that hangs from an Ethiope’s ear” as a rich jewel is precious and rare and she stands out as the precious jewel is bright and the Ethiope’s cheek is dark. Romeo uses light and dark imagery to illustrate Juliet’s attractiveness to him. He states here “shows a snowy dove trooping with crows” as a connotation of a dove is peace and hope where as connotations of crows are death and fear. The quote also says “… Snowy dove, trooping with crows” which implies that she is forced to be in a room with people less beautiful than her. Almost as if she is being forced to be there.

This is very similar to Juliet’s language in the later Act 3, Scene 2. Here Juliet has married Romeo and eagerly awaits her husband. Juliet urges night to come because only at night can Romeo visit as their families are sworn enemies. She then states that Romeo will “lie upon the wings of night, whiter than new snow upon a ravens back” implying that Romeo is so handsome and light that if he were to “lie upon the wings of night”, Romeo would be “whiter than new snow upon a ravens back” After this Juliet then says that “When I shall die, take him and cut out into little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine … This means that when Juliet dies she won’t be able to love him anymore so he should be cut into stars and hung in the night sky.

Also the quote says “That all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun. ” meaning that he would look so beautiful in the sky that everyone would love it and also it shows that Romeo is brighter than the sun. In Shakespearean times white was associated with purity and goodness where as black was associated with darkness and evil. As well as compliments through out, the play also contains many insults from many characters and not just between rival families.

In the party scene Tybalt spots Romeo and without Romeo’s knowledge calls him a “villain” and a “slave. ” Back in Shakespearian times these were very powerful insults as connotations of the word “slave” can be poor and not civilised, as most slaves were immigrants and they weren’t respected. As well as calling Romeo a “slave” Tybalt refers to Romeo as a “villain” which means evil. After refusing to endure Romeo, Capulet is furious and begins insulting Tybalt, who is his son, using insults such as “you are a Princecox-go” implying Tybalt is an insolent and disobedient young man.

Another insult Capulet uses is “What, Goodman, boy. ” Meaning Tybalt is an unmannerly boy. By repeatedly referring to Tybalt as a boy Capulet is challenging Tybalt’s masculinity which angers Tybalt and makes him furious. Later on in the play, in Act 3, Scene 1, Tybalt insults Romeo to his face and calls him a “villain” again. Romeo replies to this insult but not in an aggressive way, by saying “farewell, I see thou knowest me not. ” Which is basically Romeo telling Tybalt that he must obviously not know Romeo at all.

After Tybalt has murdered Mercutio Romeo says “my reputation stain’d with Tybalt’s slander. ” This is a metaphor as a reputation isn’t a concrete noun and therefore cannot be stained. This is indicates that as Tybalt repeatedly calls Romeo a villain people may begin to believe him. This is serious as reputations were serious in Shakespeare’s time. In Act 5, Scene 1 Tybalt emphasises the hate between the two families of the play in his behaviour on stage. In this scene, Tybalt first notices Romeo and is furious as he believes that Romeo is there to cause trouble.

Tybalt says “to strike him dead, I hold not a sin” which means that he would kill Romeo. This is significant as it shows us that Tybalt is so infuriated by Romeo’s presence that he would, without any regrets kill Romeo, also it shows us that Tybalt is willing to kill another human being which makes us wonder whether Tybalt is in control of hi feelings or if his feelings are in control of him. As Tybalt storms toward Romeo, Capulet stops him and attempts t calm him down but Tybalt refuses and is still enraged.

Capulet informs Tybalt that if he began a fight with Romeo he would “make a mutiny” and “cock-a-hoop” between all the guests and cause disorder. Tybalt replies “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet, convent into to bitt’rest gall. ” This implies that all shall start well for Romeo but eventually all go horribly wrong. This tells us that Tybalt plans a later attack on Romeo for no particular reason. Tybalt’s anger and hate are conveyed very effectively in the language he uses in Act 5, Scene 1.

In this scene the insults he applies to Romeo are vey bitter such as “to strike him dead, I hold not a sin. ” If you had of said something like that in Shakespeare’s time it would be very disrespectful because they lived in a very religious society. So therefore saying that killing someone is not a bad thing would be taken very seriously which indicates sheer anger. Tybalt assumes that Romeo’s attitude towards the party is to mock the serious ceremony, so to sneer at Tybalt and the Capulet’s. The phrase that Tybalt uses is “scorn at our solemnity” which means to look down at the serious ceremony.

Tybalt speaks a lot of sibilance’s or’s’ sounding words because maybe he is like a snake wand snakes are sinister and have a lot of “spite. ” However Romeos behaviour is completely different. The first the audience see’s of Romeo in this scene is when he spots Juliet and asks who it is that does “enrich the hand” of another man, Paris. In addition he states that Juliet “Burns bright! ” He has only just declared his love for Rosaline so this suggests that he has forgotten Rosaline and his love for her has evaporated.

Also, the whole point of Romeo going to the party was to see Rosaline, but the second he see’s Juliet, it is almost as if Rosaline doesn’t exist anymore. He is only judging Juliet by her looks and not her personality. This proves that Romeo is shallow and almost unworthy. In addition Shakespeare’s era was a very religious society and believes in long term commitments and therefore may disagree with Romeo’s love for Juliet as he doesn’t even know her name. Furthermore he approaches Juliet and takes her hand, speaks with her and kisses her without knowing neither her name, background nor her personality.

This makes Romeo seem confident and assertive, as he doesn’t know her name. This could mean that he does not care about her name, or maybe he just wants to be seen with someone more beautiful than anyone else to make them jealous. He is using her. It is hard for a director to show Romeo falling in love instantly on stage, however, when he states she “burns bright” the other actors on stage could freeze or be dimmed out as a still red spotlight appears on Juliet as Romeo approaches to illustrate that she is singled out from everyone as she is the most significant.

Further to this, when Romeo and Juliet both speak closely for their very first time, the director could set them apart from the other characters in the busy party scene by having them in a pink spotlight and the others in a dimmed background or have them forward on the stage and the others using slow motion in the background to indicate the main activity is Romeo and Juliet speaking and that they are the most important people in the scene.

As well as his actions being different, his language is completely the opposite. In the party scene, when Romeo first speaks to Juliet he uses religious imagery, such as calling her a “holy shrine. ” This would have been a large compliment to Juliet as they were all very religious no matter what class. Also a shrine was a place of worship associated with a sacred person or object telling us that Romeo looked at Juliet as an angel.

When Romeo calls Juliet a shrine he only means it metaphorically. Another example of this is when he says “my lips, two blushing pilgrims. ” This again is a metaphor as lips cannot travel without taking a person with it because a pilgrim is a person who travels to a holy place, so this again tells us that Romeo considers Juliet as holy. When he says “blushing” it is slightly ironic as blushing implies shyness whereas Romeo is a complete opposite of shy, he is very assertive.

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