Romeo and Juliet are that couple always standing in the middle of the hallway, locked in a tight embrace, mesmerized by each other and blind to the rest of the world. They’re so passionate and hopelessly attracted to each other that their minds can’t comprehend the hordes of people scrambling around them rushing off to class. Crowds push and shove them into corners and lockers, but the couple’s eyes’ are still locked on each other. This causes a massive collision right in the middle of the busiest hallway in school.
Teenagers sprawled on the ground slowly rise up, giving the couple irritated glares, brush off their pants and hurry down the hall. Romeo and Juliet’s unrelenting adoration for each other causes tragic and terrible consequences, due to their rash decisions and ignorance to the world around them. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare demonstrates to the reader how love leads to irrational decisions because of its blinding nature. The author does this by using light vs dark imagery, as light is hate and darkness is love.
Light blinds Romeo and Juliet from making reasonable decisions, but darkness further increases their love for one another. Through the use of the themes of light vs dark, Shakespeare is able to transform hate into love, which occurs due to the pressures of family and romantic love. As someone falls in love, they’re taking a step into unknown, treacherous territory. The outcomes of this strong emotion are endless and mysterious. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare clearly portrays his message of how love is dangerous and how it caused the horrendous outcomes of Romeo and Juliet’s short-lived romance.
Hours after Romeo and Juliet meet each other for the first time, they proclaim their love for each other from the balcony of the Capulet mansion. When Romeo sneaks onto Capulet property to confess his passion for Juliet, he describes how his longing to talk to Juliet overcomes his fear of being punished for trespassing. “For stony limits cannot hold love out,/ and what love can do, that dares love attempt:/ therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me” (2. 2. 67-70). Romeo demonstrates how their newborn affection for each other has taken an alarming and rapid turn for the worst, as there’s nothing Romeo won’t do for Juliet.
The couple has only exchanged a few words with each other before they settle on getting married as soon as possible. Love is shown as being an underlying force that drives irrational decisions for both Romeo and Juliet. In addition, another scene where love controls the character’s emotions is when Juliet’s father, Capulet, gives Juliet the choice of marrying Paris or being disowned, Juliet feels that the only way out of her predicament is to fake her own death. As she is drinking the poison, she proclaims: “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here’s drink-I drink to thee” (4. 4. 58).
Juliet takes drastic measures in order to “solve” her predicament, which leads to Romeo’s suicide due to a miscommunication. Love drives both Romeo and Juliet to make desperate decisions, the couple is blinded by their intense devotion to each other. Both Romeo and Juliet are used by Shakespeare in order to prove how love can lead to reckless and devastating choices, only driven by the need for the lovers to be in the company of each other. But, this irrational train of thought is further fueled by the pressures from both Romeo and Juliet’s love for their families.
The saying, “Strict parents make sneaky children” perfectly describes Romeo and Juliet’s predicament. Both characters strive to rebel against their parents, as they’ve been sheltered from reality their entire lives. The Capulet and Montague families adore their children and have strived to raise children that can proudly carry on the family name, even if it means arranging a marriage to ensure their offspring marry into the right house. Though the two households despise each other, they are similar with that they are very strict in the notion that the opposite family is evil and should never be trusted.
Juliet’s parents, for example, would rather disown their daughter than have her marry a Montague. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, Capulet threatens, But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next, To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church, Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither, Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage! (3. 5. 153-156) The pressures that the Capulet family throw onto Juliet demonstrates how even love is controlled by family relationships. Juliet isn’t even allowed to choose who she is allowed to love, even though one cannot choose the emotions they feel.
Also, the covert method of hiding their passion increases the need for them to be together. Romeo and Juliet’s drive to rebel against their families proves how the each household’s detestation for foreign love doesn’t put a stop to Romeo and Juliet, it only pushes it farther. For example, when the couple first meet at the ball, Juliet vents to her nurse about feelings she just acquired by saying, “My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! (1. 5. 137-138). ” The love that Juliet experiences is amplified by the fact that Romeo is a Montague and that their love is forbidden.
Her hate is transformed into love, making her feelings of adoration stronger than her despise. The sense of rebellion it is giving to Romeo and Juliet only adds to the dangers of love, as love is not the only power driving them, it is the rush they receive from keeping their relationship a secret. Darkness hides their love from the world, blocking out everyone else who tries to get in the way of their love. Night is always the setting of Romeo and Juliet’s romantic meetings. They meet at night, Romeo sneaks onto Juliet’s balcony in darkness, and Friar Lawrence marries them secretly in the late hours of the night.
Love is darkness, as it shrouds rational thought and reasoning, which makes the lover’s decisions more rash and eventful. The only way for Romeo and Juliet to continue to be with each other is to keep their love hidden from their families. When Romeo and Juliet first meet each other, Romeo is struck by her beauty and radiance as he talks to himself at the ball about his passion for this woman he doesn’t even know. Romeo describes his intense feelings for Juliet with, “Did my heart love til now? Forswear it, sight! / For I ne’er say true beauty till this night. ” (1.
5. 51-52). Again, night is the time that Romeo and Juliet encounter each other, and again it’s in secret as most of the party guests are not aware that Romeo is a Montague. Shakespeare deliberately chooses to place the characters here during this time in order to prove how darkness is love. The love-struck couple is able to completely shelter themselves from their surroundings and can only comprehend their hazy, passionate world. Romeo and Juliet surround themselves with an impenetrable bubble, as no one can separate them and convince them to think rationally.
For example, the Nurse tries to talk some sense into Juliet after Romeo is banished and Juliet is being forced to marry Paris. The Nurse attempts to convince Juliet that Romeo isn’t worth her stress, for she says, I think you are happy in this second match, For it exceeds your first, or if it did not, Your first is dead, or t’were as good he were As living here and you no use of him (3. 5. 222-225). Juliet’s nurse attempts to convince Juliet that Romeo is as good as gone since he has been banished. But Juliet cannot listen as she is completely surrounded by the darkness that love has thrown on her ability to create sensible thought.
The endless adoration that Romeo and Juliet have for one other proves how love shades all rational thought and how love is darkness, as their time together occurs in the shadowed hours of the night. On the contrary, as love is darkness, the hate of the Capulets and Montagues illuminates the harsh reality that Romeo and Juliet have to struggle through in order to be together. The fierce detestation between the Capulet and Montague houses shines light on the dilemma Romeo and Juliet have to face as their love grows. Shakespeare strategically juxtaposes the two intense feelings of love and hate in order to prove how light is hate.
In Romeo and Juliet, each time a character is fueled by powerful emotions of animosity, it is during the daytime. For example, during the brawl between the two houses, Romeo is enraged by the death of Mercutio and he proclaims, “And fire-ey’d fury be my conduct now! / Now, Tybalt, take the ‘villain’ back again,” (3. 1. 120-121). Romeo is left without any coherent thought, as he is unable to comprehend the horrific events that just occured. The infuriated Romeo proves how light is hate as he is driven by the growing fire inside of him.
Extreme hatred inside of Romeo is controlling his actions, similar to how his love for Juliet dominates Romeo’s ability to make rational decisions. Also, the time of the fight shows how light is a strong factor in the events of the play. The sunlight shining on the characters in this scene lights up the reality and true importance of these events. Romeo murdering Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, changes the entire course of the play, as the consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s romance finally bring Juliet to realize the magnitude of their
actions. Mercutio says before the fight the timeframe of the scene, “The day is hot, the Capels are abroad,” (3. 1. 2). The apparent symbolism that Shakespeare shows with this quote is evident to the fact that hate is light because it fuels the anger and fury inside each of the characters. In addition, during the conclusion of the play, the Prince, attempting to achieve peace between the two houses says, “A glooming peace this morning with it brings,/ The sun for sorrow will not show his head. ” (5. 3. 305-306).
Shakespeare uses a personification to show how the sun doesn’t dare to show its face during this time of sorrow. The sun represents hate, as the Capulets and Montagues are reconciling with each other after their children’s deaths. The death of their children finally makes the two households realize the errors of their ways. Reality has hit both families hard as they cannot overcome their grief for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Hatred will not appear here, for the families are learning to love each other.
Courtney from Study Moose
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