Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare Essay
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When put together, it means sick of love. Once Montague and Lady Montague leave, Benvolio has to try and discover what is affecting him. Just in the first few lines of Benvolio’s and Romeo’s conversation, love, once again appears, not as sexual innuendos, but this time in a much more serious perspective. Benvolio asks, ‘What sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours? ‘ and Romeo replies, ‘Not having that which having makes them short,’ which is rather ironic as Romeo wants love and therefore his life is short.
We previously identify this through the prologue.
Elizabethan’s had an aristocratic view on love and so they thought it would always be bad as Benvolio indicates, ‘so gentle in his view. ‘ As soon as Benvolio speaks of love, Romeo attempts to confuse the issue, but when he uncovers the essential truth, he emphasizes each word as if the facts were almost unbelievable and quite without justification. At line 169, Romeo honestly unveils the truth, ‘here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. ‘ This may not be extremely important in engaging the audience because they may already believe that his unrequited love is Juliet.
But this is not the case, thus it will be a shock to the audience when they discover who it really is. His thoughts are of the clash between love and hate, which then places brutal and outrageous images in his head. This is also shown by the words he uses, ‘Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything, of nothing first create! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms, Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still waking sleep, that is not what it is! ‘ Which also represents the confusion of his feelings and the contrast between them.
This is an example of an oxymoron and the contradictions in life. It is applied in order to express the perplexity of Romeo’s emotions. It is also apparent that Romeo recognizes that Rosaline is a Capulet, the enemy, which is why his words of love and hate are intertwined, ‘O brawling love, O loving hate. ‘ Once more, Romeo attempts to leave but Benvolio follows him and brings up the subject of love yet again. The word ‘love’ catches Romeo’s attention; only this time, he counter’s Benvolio’s question by mocking his seriousness.
In this section, there is a distinction between Rosaline and Juliet’s attitude to love. Rosaline, ‘hath forsworn to love,’ indicating her love will not open out for anyone at this moment, and as he continues, ‘and in that vow, do I live dead, that live to tell it now,’ reinforces the idea of Romeo finding love and life, and when he does, it will result in death. Romeo is caught up in ‘false’ or ‘artificial’ love. When real love comes, it will come as Juliet and will be a great impact in his life. The way he feels about Rosaline is much different to his feelings towards Juliet.
As I have previously mentioned, we start scene II with Capulet and Paris, and his wish to marry Juliet as soon as possible. The information that we are told at the end of scene I, and the beginning of scene II, is surprising to the reader as we were lead to believe that it is Romeo and Juliet getting together, but it is apparent they are not and create a sense of curiosity. Capulet is presented as a kind hearted man and has faith in his daughter, ‘earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she; She is the hopeful day of my earth.
‘ But this quote too, has dramatic irony, because Juliet dies in the end and therefore will have nothing to live for. Capulet then leaves after his lecture, leaving Peter, his servant with a piece of paper. Romeo and Benvolio enter and meet Peter, who is at fault, as he cannot read the list of whom he is meant to invite for the party. Romeo is persistent and patient with Peter. As he reads the list aloud to Peter, a name mentioned caught his attention; Rosaline. By now, he is even more tolerant with Peter because he realises that this is his chance to discover more about Rosaline.
To return the favour, Peter prayed, ‘come and crush a cup of wine,’ and then left. Of course, Romeo would take advantage of this due to his adoration of Rosaline. Benvolio also encourages him, ‘go thither, and with attained eye, compare her face with some that I shall show. ‘ This is another example of dramatic irony as Romeo take’s Benvolio’s advice and ironically, he does find another woman who happens to be Juliet. Presently however, Romeo questions, ‘one fairer than my love? ‘ believing that there is no one else for him, but there is. Rosaline starts to fade out at the end of scene II.
By introducing the nurse before Juliet in scene III, Shakespeare at one stroke made the drama domestic, bawdy, and affectionate in tone. As she speaks in turn to Lady Capulet and Juliet, the nurse’s speech is more dynamic and rhythmically varied than any so far in the play. Shakespeare was also able to introduce his heroin almost silently, so that in her first scene, Juliet speaks only seven lines. Attention is of course, focused on her, and her response is crucial for the development of the scene; yet she remains dutiful in speech and therefore mysterious and unknown.
As lady Capulet did not ask any questions, the Nurse felt it was necessary to speak. Her long speech about the death of her daughter may indicate the events that could happen to Juliet. The bawdy lines 43-45: ‘Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit; Wilt thou not, Jule? ” And, by my holidam, The pretty wretch left crying and said, “Ay”‘ Provide a climax for the speech, making the nurse helpless with laughter and provoking three repetitions, two against the express wish of Lady Capulet. Probably the nurse should make an attempt to be silent or serious and then give in to her own instincts.
Juliet’s involvement is effective as she may either be embarrassed by her Nurse’s bawdiness or may know that more is likely to follow and offend her mother. It is in this scene where Juliet speaks her thoughts of marriage and believes it is, ‘an honour I dream not of,’ for she is still young and has no plans to marry. This is considered as dramatic irony for she has no desire to marry Paris but when she meets Romeo, she falls in love and marries him almost straight away. Then Lady Capulet asks, ‘can you like Paris’ love? ‘ and Juliet answers, I’ll look to like, if looking liking move. But no more deep will I endart my eye
Than your consent gives strength to make it fly,’ Reinforcing that she will meet him but Lady Capulet will have to wait before Juliet gives her verdict. The audience at this point will anticipate the judgment of young Juliet. Finally, there is one last major theme in the play, fate and tragedy. When mentioning the word ‘tragedy,’ you automatically think death or a disaster outcome, which will make you want to know more about the event or situation. Shakespeare gives a hint of tragedy in the prologue, ‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their strife,’ and so connects with the thoughts of the audience.
‘Star-crossed lovers’ are referred to as death. Their love brings both of them to an end and is thus, their destiny to die. The prologue gives a summary to what we expect to happen, but Shakespeare carefully made this to embody the divine intervention of Romeo and Juliet. In the Elizabethan times, the audience were lead to believe that fate always causes tragedy. As we know, we begin in a fight scene. Romeo is in fact not there, which may symbolise that Romeo is not part of the feud or that he is involved greatly.
The quarrelling of ‘fools’ is turned to ‘civil mutiny’ as the prologue warned. Although Benvolio seeks to ‘keep the peace,’ he is soon fighting as Tybalt threatens him with ‘death’. The Capulet’s and the Montague’s are built on hate where as Romeo and Juliet is built on love and subsequently, inevitability is introduced. The prophetic words of Prince Escalus, ‘your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace,’ is ironic because we know that Romeo and Juliet, from each household, dies as a consequent to the feud that has been going on for many years.
It is an insight for those who don’t know, of what will tragically happen. Romeo’s unrequited love leads his life, but when another lady returns his love, his life comes to an end. The ironic in this is visible as we read Romeo and Benvolio’s conversation. Romeo’s fate as he believes, is to be with Juliet no matter what. So his determination to spend eternity with Juliet is his destiny to die. Romeo claims he is a victim of bad luck, in saying that he is “Fortune’s fool” The mechanism of fate works in all of the events surrounding the lovers, including the feud between their families.
This event is not mere coincidence, but manifestations of fate that help bring about the unavoidable outcome of the young lovers’ deaths. Fate in the play is influenced by the social situations and the personalities of each character. In scene II, Capulet recalls that he has nothing to live for but for his daughter, but because he is at war with whom Juliet loves, she dies as a consequence of this. It is bad luck to him and for both Romeo and Juliet. Peter’s obvious flaw of not being able to read is Romeo’s chance to meet Rosaline, but this is his fate to first meet Juliet.
Meeting Peter was a fateful coincidence. Benvolio himself said to look for other women and this is what happened when he went to Capulet’s party. Benvolio urges Romeo to go to the party for the women, but Lady Capulet urges Juliet to go to meet Paris, giving the audience the benefit of the doubt. The audience at this point is now aware of how Juliet and Romeo meet. In scene III, the Nurse comments, ‘An I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish,’ implies that she will see Juliet’s marriage with Paris, but not only does she miss it, but Juliet’s husband to be is a different man.
The nurse’s speech is significant and refers to the death of her own child. The audience by now is much more interested as they now know more about the events. Overall, we can see that Shakespeare has created an atmosphere, which engages the audience right from the beginning. He uses imagery, emotive words, dramatic irony and various other techniques to do so. In the beginning, the prologue tells us what we are to expect, and as we near the end of scene III, our expectations are answered, but we are curious of how the events happen. Shakespeare has successfully completed his task to seize our mind.