Compare the Presentation of Love in Shakespeare to Pride and Prejudice

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‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are the two of English literature’s most celebrated and loved stories.  In both cases, the theme of the story is love between a young man and women and the lovers are the main characters about which the rest of the cast or characters in the story revolve.  Although both are romances, in the literal sense of the word, there are numerous differences between them; this essay intends to examine the similarities and differences between the two works, specifically in the way that the idea of love is presented.

‘Romeo and Juliet’, written by the Stratford-Upon-Avon–born playwright William Shakespeare, was first performed on a London stage around 1594, although the actual date cannot be given for certain.  The two title characters are a rich young man from the Italian city of Verona and an even younger girl from a rival family. Romeo is from the house of Montague, while Juliet is from the house of Capulet, who meet and fall instantly in love; as Romeo says, upon first seeing Juliet, “I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”  This is added to in the sonnet that Romeo shares with Juliet (Act 1 Scene V), in which he says, “My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”  In Shakespeare’s times sonnets were used to express love between two characters in a play to the audience; the words, such as pilgrims, in this sonnet imply that the two lovers love is pure, deep and religious.  However, the political difficulties between the two families mean that “the course of true love ne’er did run smooth” and the “pair of star-cross’d lovers” are forced to hide their love for each other from those around them.  The story ends tragically with them both taking their own lives.  There are three types of love featured in this play: patriarchal, heroic, and romantic love.  ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is considered to be the epitome of a thwarted teenage love story.

Pride and Prejudice was written by...
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