The various ways in which Shakespeare portrays the developing love relationship between Romeo and Juliet
The romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” follows the relationship rollercoaster of the lives of two teenagers as they fall in love. Both children of two feuding families, their love is not to be. We know right from the beginning that their love is a time bomb just waiting to explode. Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting is at the Capulet party where its obvious Romeo is infatuated by Juliet’s beauty. You can see that both Romeo and Juliet fall in love at first sight. As it seems they lose all thought of the party going on around them. The prologue sets the story against a backdrop of violence, bitterness and feuding.
In the prologue, Shakespeare introduces the play with the opening sentence “Two households, both alike in dignity” He explains right from the beginning that there is a lot of anger between the two families as they are so alike. Shakespeare describes Romeo and Juliet as “A pair of star crossed lovers… ” and then tells us “Who take their lives… ” Shakespeare explains to us that their relationship is doomed from the outset and that their deaths are inevitable. Shakespeare describes the love of Romeo and Juliet as “Death-marked. ” This creates a sense of foreboding as it becomes clear that their love is destined for death.
Shakespeare uses a lot of vulgar sexual language to begin the play. He does this to contrast with Romeo and Juliet’s love, as their love is described as “holy” and passionate unlike that what is described in the opening scene. When we are first introduced to Romeo he seems to be in a melancholy mood and seems to show a lot of sympathy for himself. When his friend Benvolio tells him the time he replies: “Ay me, sad hours seem long. ” Shakespeare shows Romeos confusion between love and hate. “O brawling love, O loving hate. ” it’s obvious that Romeo is confused as there is little difference between the two.
Shakespeare also uses an oxymoron to help express Romeos confusion. Before Romeo decides to go to the party he says to Benvolio: “One fairer than my love! ” … “l go along no such sight to be shown”. Shakespeare explains how Romeo is determined that he will not find anyone else to love but Rosaline. He is soon very mistaken, as when he meets Juliet his attitude completely changes. When we are first introduced to Juliet Shakespeare expresses how nai?? ve and vulnerable she is. He shows us how obedient and respectful she is towards her parents.
This is shown when Lady Capulet asks Juliet if she would consider marrying Paris. Juliet replies: “It is an honor I dream not of”. This is because she feels she is not ready to be wed yet. But her feelings are soon changing when she meets Romeo. Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting is in act 1 scene 5 where immediately you can tell Romeo is awestruck by Juliet. Romeo uses light imagery to describe Juliet’s beauty. “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night. ” This contrasts with what Romeo said in act 1 scene 2 as he was using dark miserable language to express his feelings.
Shakespeare also uses a question to express how Romeo contradicts himself when he said that nobody could be as beautiful as Rosaline. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! for I ne’er saw rue beauty till this night” This shows Romeo is so overwhelmed by Juliet’s beauty he dismisses all thoughts of Rosaline from his mind. Romeo also uses religious imagery and language to describe Juliet’s beauty. “Holy shrine”… “Blushing pilgrims” “… O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do:” This shows Romeo’s feelings towards Juliet, and that their relationship is pure.
He expresses Juliet like a faith, almost as if he worships her, like somebody would a god. Juliet is his idol that he looks up to. At this point in the play it’s becoming more evident Juliet now feels she is in love with Romeo. Shakespeare uses antithesis to help show how Juliet feels about falling in love with her enemy. “My only love, sprung from my only hate Too early seen unknown and known too late” My reaction to this is that Juliet has fallen in love too quickly without completely realizing the consequences of Romeo being a Montague.
A further ominous feeling is created when she begins to link her marriage to Romeo with her death. … -If he be married, My grave is like to be my wedding bed” Shakespeare uses a chilling image here to show Juliet’s exaggeration when talking about marrying Romeo. Juliet often links her marriage to Romeo with her death, she questions if they do marry will she be marrying herself into death? There is an ominous feeling created here as Juliet anticipates her own death. In act 2 scene 2 Romeo goes to all lengths to get just below Juliet’s balcony. Before Juliet appears Romeo begins his soliloquy where again he uses a lot of light imagery to describe Juliet. “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon. ” This suggests Romeo feels that Juliet brings a new light to him. “Too of the fairest stars in all the heaven” This again is comparing Juliet to light. My reaction to this is that Romeo thinks Juliet is too beautiful for this planet which again gives an ominous feeling for their future. Romeo seems to think Juliet belongs in heaven which indicates the kind of love he feels for her.
Juliet then enters and speaks unaware of Romeos presence below her balcony. She begins to speak aloud: “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Here Juliet is questioning, why are you Romeo, a Montague? She explains the name Montague is nothing to do with who Romeo is, as Romeo is just his name. “What’s a Montague? It is nor hand nor foot, Nor arm nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. ” “O be some other name! ” “… What’s in a name? ” Juliet asks herself, what is in a name? She uses a rose to help her try to explain how she feels about Romeos name making them feuding enemies. “That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet. ” Here, Juliet explains that if a rose were called by a different name it would still smell as sweet.
Notice that Juliet uses an image of a beautiful flower to talk about Romeo. Her words show that all her senses are awakened by her love for him. My impression here is that Juliet’s words show that she has become more passionate. Shakespeare holds Romeo back from speaking so we can hear Juliet’s true feelings towards Romeo. As Romeo begins to speak he also shows he will do anything for their love as he denies his name.
Juliet seems very surprised when hearing the voice of her love outside her window. “What man art thou that thus bescreen’d in night So stumblest on my counsel? Juliet asks what man is hidden in her garden Romeo replies: “By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am. ” Romeo even suggest being baptized so he is not even named Romeo “… I’ll be new baptis’d; Henceforth I never will be Romeo. ” This shows Romeo would even consider changing his identity to make it possible for him and Juliet to be together. In keeping with her character in the rest of the play, Lady Capulet introduces the topic of marriage to Paris very abruptly and without much sensitivity. She expects Juliet to commit herself to someone she has not yet seen.
Lady Capulet says Juliet could ‘Share all that he doth possess’ And seems to see marriage as a sharing of position and wealth rather than a sharing of love. Romeo, having gained entry to the party in the hope of seeing Rosaline, in over whelmed by his first sight of Juliet. ‘O she doth teach the torches to burn bright’ Romeo sees Juliet and is stunned by her beauty. He associates her with glowing light, says she shines like a rich jewel, compares her to a snowy dove among crows and says she is ‘blessed’. As Benvolio said he would, Romeo now forswears his love for Rosaline at once.
Benvolio also says: ‘ Since one fire burns out another and one pain is made less by the anguish of another, he should therefore fine a new love’ But we know that Romeo’s pain will be made greater, not less, by his love for Juliet. Romeo’s speech in praise of Juliet describes the beauty of the light of the sun and the other stars. Later, he speaks of her as a ‘Bright angel’ who, as a ‘winged messenger of heaven’, is far above ordinary mortals on earth. Romeo uses religious imagery to describe Juliet indicating the kind of love he feels for her. ‘Holy shrine’ ‘blushing pilgrims’ Here
At this point, Juliet feels she is now in love with Romeo. Shakespeare uses antithesis to show Juliet’s feelings about falling in love with her enemy. “My only love, sprung from my only hate too early seen unknown and known too late” Shakespeare uses an oxymoron here to express Juliet’s confusion about Romeo being her “Only hate if he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed” Juliet often links hers and Romeos marriage with her death, she questions if she be wed will she be marrying herself into death? There is an ominous feeling created here as Juliet anticipates her own death.
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ” The next time Romeo and Juliet meet, Juliet unaware that Romeo is hiding below in the garden says that she does not care that he is a Montague. She says that if a rose were called by a different name it would still smell as sweet. Notice that Juliet uses an image of a beautiful flower to talk about Romeo her description of her ears drinking in his words show that all her senses are awakened by her love for him and introduces imagery of mouths, drinking. “For stony limits cannot hold love out. ”
Juliet is worried that Romeo risks death if he is discovered in her garden and wonders how he climbed the high orchard walls. He replies that love enabled him to climb the walls so easily. The “stony limits” of Juliet’s orchard, which Romeo says cannot hold out his love, also appear at the end of the play, where they become the stony limits of the graveyard and the tomb. Romeos love for Juliet becomes so strong that not only death can keep them apart. He says that love fears nothing, preparing us for the desperate measures which Juliet takes later to avoid marrying Paris. “Thy kinsmen are no stop to me”
Romeo unwittingly foretells his own death. He says he would rather have his life ended quickly by being found here in the garden by Juliet’s Kinsmen-‘ended by their hate’, then die a slow suffering without Juliet’s love. Because the audience already knows how the story will end, this comment by Romeo is a piece of dramatic irony. ” O swear not by the moon, th’inconstant moon” Romeo used imagery about light when describing his love for Rosaline and now he tries to use the moon to evoke his love for Juliet continuing her words about being truthful, she says she does not want him to swear by the ‘inconstant’ moon.
The moons light is not constant because it waxes and wanes throughout the year- sometimes it is strong and the others it disappears. Romeo is intoxicated by his passion for Juliet but she says ‘ it is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden’, like the lightning in a storm. In a way Juliet is correct, because there love will indeed be like a brief wondrous flash of light in the darkness of the feud between their two families. Juliet is afraid of being ‘quickly won’.
Time and sense of time passing quickly are ideas that are repeated often in the play, where the action takes place in a very short space of time – at this point, for example, marks the end of the first day. ”O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard, being in night, all this is but a dream, too flattering-sweet to be substantial. ” Romeo is afraid that his wonderful meeting with Juliet has been only a dream. Romeo longs Juliet will return for their seeing again tomorrow. “What says he of our marriage, what of that? ” Juliet is anxious to know why the nurse has been so long.
She say’s love messengers should travel as fast as the ‘sun flickers’ when clouds blow over it. This image connects the themes of haste and light and reminds us of Juliet’s observation that some forms of love appear and disappear as quickly as lightening. “These violent delights have violent ends” The friar delivers his usual lecture about how the excess of any passion will lead to tragedy. What he says is prophetic, considering what fate has in stare for the two lovers. Notice his warning that ‘violent delights have violent ends’ and that they are like ‘fire and powder’ because when they meet they destroy each other. As they kiss consume’ ” Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow” By this confusing remark the friar means that people should love moderately, neither with too much haste and passion nor with too little interest or emotion. This is true on two separate occasions in the play: first, when the friars message to Romeo is delayed and Romeo buys poison in his ignorance of the plan to fake Juliet’s death; second, when Romeo arrives at the tomb before Juliet has awoken from her mock-death and takes the poison before the friar arrives to tell him the truth. “O God, I have an ill-divining soul”
Romeo and Juliet have spent their wedding night together in her room. Juliet says that Romeo ‘need not go yet because morning is a long way off. ‘ The night is their friend because it allows them to be together. So far in the play, the light of day has been associated with different kinds of ‘hot passion’ Romeo says that ‘as more light appears their sadness grows greater and greater. ‘ Juliet claims that the birdsong they can hear is a nightingale and not a lark because she wants him to stay, but Romeo says that morning is here and it is indeed the lark.
Juliet does not want the light in the sky to be that of daybreak because Romeo will have to leave for exile in Mantua. Juliet says she has and ill-divining soul’ and imagines that she sees Romeo dead in the bottom of a tomb. Both of them are pale, and Romeo says that ‘sorrow drinks our blood’ meaning that they look pale because they are sad. These are the last words Juliet ever hears from Romeo. “Her beauty makes this vault a feasting presence full of light’ Romeo says he will bury Paris with Juliet but that it will not be in a grave but in a ‘lantern’, because Juliet’s beauty makes the tomb ‘full of light’.
Again Romeo compares the beauty of Juliet to brilliant light, even in death, and his speech is full of word play on ‘lighting’, which should remind you of Juliet’s worry that their love resembled lightning too much. The lovers’ passion had been described by the imagery as almost religious and heavenly, and the Friar warned that too much passion was dangerous and would consume itself ‘like fire and powder. ‘ “This is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die” The Friar arrives but it is too late to save the lives of Paris or Romeo.
He urges the awakened Juliet to escape with him and underlines the role of fate in the play when he tells her that ‘a great power than we can contradict hath thwarted our intents. ‘ Unable to persuade her to leave the Friar panics and runs away. The last reference to drinking in the play occurs when Juliet cannot find a ‘friendly drop’ of poison in the cup in Romeo’s hand. She kills herself using a dagger in order to be with her husband in death. This is a fitting end for someone who has been throughout the stronger and more practical of the lovers and who had to face danger alone.