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Shakespeare uses many different types of love in Romeo and Juliet. The first aspect I will concentrate on is also the most obvious and is that of Romeo and Juliet themselves, who share a pure, romantic and passionate love. We are however told at the very beginning the fate of these two lovers. ” A pair of star crossed lovers take their life”, star crossed meaning that their love and lives were fated before they even met. “The fearful passage of their death marked love”. It is made very clear to the audience that the play has a tragic ending.
Shakespeare does this so that because we know what is going to happen, we hope that it won’t, which makes it even more tragic in the end. The whole play is based on the fact that timing was not on Romeo and Juliet’s side. If Romeo had heard that Juliet was only sleeping then he would not have killed himself. But then in doing so caused Juliet to kill herself and so restored civil love between the two families. Shakespeare does this to show that their love was not in vain. Before they meet Juliet is much more reserved and obedient towards her parents.
She is happy to marry Paris to please her parents. Her perception of love is very nai??ve and believes it to be a very conventional love without passion, as she feels no passion for Paris. But when she meets Romeo she instantly changes and believes in true love as she is actually feeling a physical attraction. Their love scenes are always the most perfect of settings. For example, the balcony scene with Romeo in the orchard and Juliet on her balcony. Shakespeare creates very romantic moods to amplify the fact that they are in love. They speak to each other at this first meeting in sonnets, which are love poems containing 14 lines and would be very recognisable to an Elizabethan audience.
Before meeting Juliet, Romeo was courting Rosaline, but because she was dismissed at the beginning before we actually meet her, Romeo obviously didn’t feel love for her. He tells Benvolio that he does, “in sadness cousin I love a woman”, but on meeting Juliet his object of affections is soon forgotten. They now feel a mutual passionate love, and so the story unfolds as we see hope for them slowly disappearing. One reason is because of Juliet’s father, Capulet, wanting to marry her off to Paris. He is not a bad father however and shows a strong parental love, he does not arrange the marriage to get rid of her, but to make her happy.
When Romeo murders Tybalt, Capulet tries to speed up the marriage because he hates to see his daughter so sad; he thinks he is doing the best thing for her happiness. Juliet’s mother however, Lady Capulet, is less caring. She was married when she was a younger age than Juliet, “I was your mother much upon these years”. She feels that Juliet should have to go through the same as her as she did not marry for love. This is shown as Capulet does not show any affection or respect towards his wife, ” What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
” This has a double meaning, calling her disrespectful names, which was one of the things Shakespeare used a lot in his plays. The opening with Sampson and Gregory shows a whole act of crude references to sex and women as objects, “I will push Montague’s men from the wall and thrust his maids to the wall”, “Women being the weaker vessels”. They show no love except a sexual one. Paris’ love for Juliet is a conventional one of Shakespeare’s time, where a man would be shown to chase a lady but there was no passion shown.
This is unlike Romeo’s love of course. But it is not that simple because Paris is supposed to be the love rival and usually would be mean and selfish. This is not the case though and so Paris makes for a very worthy lover who could give Juliet everything she would ever need financially. This shows Juliet’s views of love, because she turns Paris away as she only feels love for Romeo even though they could never publicly show their affections towards each other. The play is about families although little parental love is shown as I said before.
The nurse and the friar act as substitutes almost to the children’s real parents. They try to keep them happy, which may be part of the reason why the story ends like it does. If they had left things and told them to listen to their parents they would have lived, although through their death, another love was created-civil. We do not see the Montague’s parental love towards Romeo and although Lady Capulet can be viewed as a mean woman, both parents love their children very much. This however is only really shown at the end when the tragedy has already occurred and they are mourning.
This also links in with a civil love; the two families coming together to not only love their own children, but to love each other’s children as well. Montague announces to Capulet, “I will raise her statue in pure gold”. This is of course a very generous and expensive gesture, to which Capulet replies, “As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie”, returning the gesture. This is the turning point of the story; civil love has been restored in Verona as the two families agree to build a statue of each other’s child in gold to remind them of how their love was so true and faithful.
To conclude, I think that Romeo and Juliet’s love overcame all obstacles even though it did not end as a perfect fairytale would. They have ended a war of hatred between the whole city. At the end where Paris visits the tomb of Juliet, this action in itself shows that he had an amount of affection for her, more so than we knew before, “Nightly shall be to stew thy grave and weep”. He is showing a genuine mourning for his would be bride. This makes the story sadder because we know that Juliet could have been happy with Paris if she had not met Romeo, yet she died feeling real love, as supposed to what she thought love was before.