Examination of the different types of love in 'Romeo ; Juliet' including an explanation of the Relationships through Language and Stagecraft

Categories: Romeo And Juliet

‘Romeo & Juliet’ was written by William Shakespeare and first performed in 1595 at the Globe Theatre in London. It is a play about love between a young boy and girl coming from bitterly opposed families. Many types of love are present within the play.

In Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo seems infatuated with Rosaline; however, it becomes apparent, through the language of the play, that it is not true love, but courtly or ‘artificial’ love. Although Romeo gives long and elaborate poetic descriptions of his love, he never mentions Rosaline’s name.

The audience quickly realises that he is in love with being in love. When Romeo speaks of his love for Rosaline, the language has a regular rhyme scheme and oxymoron’s are used, for example: “O brawling love, O loving hate” – Act 1, Scene 1 line 167. The patterns of verse fit the words too easily as he tries to describe a love he cannot really feel.

The stagecraft as Romeo describes his love would be to make sure that the audience understands how obsessive he is and how much he thinks he loves Rosaline.

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Romeo speaking loudly and clearly, but upset shows this. His eyes are wide open and he uses hand motions to pronounce his love more clearly. He is wandering around in the woods alone, full of self-pity. The effect of this is that he is in isolation. Romeo and Juliet are not present at the opening fight. This is because they are embodiments of love not hate. Benvolio and Lord Montague describe Romeo before the audience meets him; this builds a sense of expecting and anticipation.

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The main theme of Act 1 Scene 2 is dutiful or arranged love. Lady Capulet, backed up by the nurse, describes Paris to Juliet. Juliet replies respectfully to her mother that she will love Paris if she is required to. “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.” – Act 1, Scene 3 line 98. Juliet will do what is necessary to please her parents. Her language is respectful and gives the effect of speaking to please her mother and telling her mother what she wants to hear. The lack of variety in her vocabulary indicates simple duty, and thus, lack of thought and emotion. Juliet is endeavoring to fall in love because that is what her parents want. She is careful that she does not do anything that her parents would not like, for example: “But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make fly.” – Act 1, Scene 3 lines 99-100. The language in this section is metaphorical.

It portrays Juliet’s love as a dart that is being aimed at Paris. “Strength to make it fly” has the effect of her parents also choosing how much Juliet should love Paris, or, in the same metaphorical language being used, how hard the love dart should be thrown into Paris. The effect of this is that the love is for her parents, but not for Paris. The stagecraft for Juliet would make it perfectly clear to the audience that Juliet sees love as a duty. She wishes to fulfill her parents’ command purely out of respect and love for her parents, and not Paris. Juliet would perhaps deliver her lines clearly; she would speak respectfully and with a smile, to give the impression that she really means what she is saying, but at the same time she is speaking with a hint of over compliance, giving the effect of insincerity.

Friendship and comradely is a major theme of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. This type of love is expressed in the relationships between Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio. Benvolio knows that Romeo is being foolish about Rosaline, so he tries to help him out and prevent him from further foolishness. He wants Romeo to enjoy himself and be sociable like he used to be, as shown in Act 2, Scene 4 lines 72-73: “Now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo.” He is attempting to help Romeo get out of his depression and enjoy himself again. “Go thither, and with unattainted eye, Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think thy swan a crow” Act 1, Scene 2 lines 85-87.

This section has many different effects. “Unattainted,” suggests Benvolio wants Romeo to be honest to himself and admit that he is attracted to other women – this means forgetting about Rosaline for the night. “I shall show” illustrates that Benvolio is putting effort into leading Romeo away form foolish love. “Swan a crow” uses anthropomorphism to give the effect of Romeo seeing Rosaline as a crow next to more beautiful women. It is also a pun portraying that Rosaline is ‘swanning’ her beauty and that she give herself superficial airs. The stagecraft for Benvolio throughout this scene would be him acting socially and in friendship. This could be obtained by use of hand motions and a smile on his face. The stagecraft for Romeo would be reluctant.

One of the types of love that Romeo and Juliet have between them is infatuated and passionate love. Act 2 Scene 2 lines 38-48 is about Juliet speaking of her love for Romeo, and how she is prepared to give up everything to be with him, even her name and identity. The language style when Juliet thinks she is alone is question and answer. She asks questions and then answers them herself, for example: “What’s Montague? It’s nor hand nor foot” – Act 2, Scene 2 line 40. The effect of this is to show the audience that the new feelings she has no previous experience of are conflicting with the tradition and teaching she has followed all her life. The self questioning and answering is Juliet trying to justify her feelings and actions to herself. The stagecraft for Juliet whilst she pronounces her love would be used to convey to the audience that she is troubled and experiencing things that she has never felt before. Juliet alternating between fast and slow, loud and quiet would obtain this. The body language would also be important. Hand motions would be used to show the feeling behind the words. Juliet thinks that she is on her own, so she would be facing upwards toward the sky as if she is asking her questions to the heavens.

The main type of love in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is spiritual love, which is present throughout the play. Romeo and Juliet first meet each other in Act 1 Scene 5. When speaking together they use different language by speaking in romantic and spiritual imagery. For example Act 1 Scene 5 line 92: “This, holy shrine, the gentle sin is this.” Romeo refers to Juliet as a ‘holy shrine’, which is metaphorical and spiritual. There is personification of sin by using the adjective ‘gentle’ when describing it. Romeo starts with the metaphorical language when speaking to Juliet, who replies back with the same wordplay, extending the metaphor. They are not trying to outspeak or outwit the other by continuing and extending the metaphorical religious imagery, but complementing and supporting the others use of wordplay. A sonnet is split between them, each saying one quatrain, and then a quatrain together, then ending in a rhyming couplet.

This is special because it is very rare for a sonnet to be said by more than one person. This means that there is the effect of Romeo and Juliet being on the same intellectual plane. The audience would appreciate the true love of Romeo and Juliet when they see it juxtaposed with the love Romeo was speaking of at the start of the play. The stagecraft director may wish for Romeo and Juliet to be circling around each other whilst speaking, to show how they take pleasure from the others company. This scene is a masked ball, however if Romeo and Juliet are the only ones to be unmasked it will portray that they are not masking their emotions like the rest of the party, but being open and honest; reviling their true feelings.

The spiritual love in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is about how two young teenagers sacrifice themselves to end the hatred between their parents and families. The reason for Romeo and Juliet’s youth is so that they are pure and innocent, this way they make perfect sacrifices. Romeo and Juliet both dying together at the end of the play has the effect of their love being immortalised in death. The gold statue of them portrays their love continuing on even after they have died. This adds fairytale qualities to the play and immortalises their love.

The love between Romeo and Juliet is also dangerous and destructive. It is made clear to the audience that their love is “death-marked” – Prologue line 9. This adds expectancy and intensity to the play and is part of what has made the play so popular. One of the best examples of their destructive love is at the end of the play when Juliet wants to kill herself when she hears the news of Romeo’s banishment. Second end stop lines end the scene; this is unusual because it is typical to have a rhyming couplet at the end. The lack of rhyme gives the effect of discord, while the end stop lines makes the narrative slow down so that the audience can appreciate to her finality, sincerity and determination. The effect of this is to slow down and accentuate Juliet’s complete and utter devastation. The use of discord effect and stop lines show Juliet’s sincerity and determination.

‘Romeo & Juliet’ has been such a popular play because it is everyone’s idea of perfect romantic and true love. This is paralleled with dangerous and destructive love, adding intensity. “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice sometime by action dignified.” – Act 2, Scene 3, lines 21 and 22.

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Examination of the different types of love in 'Romeo ; Juliet' including an explanation of the Relationships through Language and Stagecraft. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/examination-different-types-love-romeo-juliet-including-explanation-relationships-language-stagecraft-new-essay

Examination of the different types of love in 'Romeo ; Juliet' including an explanation of the Relationships through Language and Stagecraft

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