Explore the relationships presented between males and females, by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, in the First Two Acts.
Even before we delve into the metaphorical and poetic world of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the fate of our titled characters has already been told as we find out about ‘A pair of star-cross'd lovers’ who ‘take their life’. However the story, as we begin to read, is far from explained and unfolded, in fact, Romeo and Juliet have not even met.
The characters in Romeo and Juliet have very different opinions of what love is. Firstly, Romeo has the initial view of love as being ‘too rough, too rude and too boisterous’, to which Mercutio replies ‘if love be rough with you, be rough with love’. This purports how Mercutio sees love as controllable and states it as a ‘tender thing’. Progressing through the play however, Romeo’s outlook of love is described when he says ‘Love goes towards love as schoolboys from their books, but love from love, [as schoolboys go] toward school with heavy looks’ but the very use of the schoolboy metaphor could imply the immaturity and naivety of Romeo’s actions and opinion towards love. On the other hand, Lady Capulet and County Paris see love as based ‘on appearance’ rather than personality and emotion towards a person.
The first encounter of a plausible relationship is between Romeo and Capulet’s niece, Rosaline. Although we do not hear or see Rosaline, we are fed an idea of the relationship she shared with Romeo, from himself and Benvolio. Romeo is a free spirited teen of Verona, love-fixed. We are told he sighs, ‘adding clouds to more clouds with his deep sighs’, over his depressing and one-sided relationship with Rosaline. Romeo is first mentioned as an aimless wanderer, preoccupied with thoughts of her, by Montague, his father, when he recalls that ‘many a morning hath he been seen/ with tears augmenting with the fresh morning dew’. Augmenting meaning to add to and combine with, we are told...
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