How Does Shakespeare and Austen Present Romantic Relationships in Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice

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How does Shakespeare and Austen present Juliet and Elizabeth’s views towards Romantic Relationships? In this essay I shall be discussing and analysing how Shakespeare and Austen present Juliet and Elizabeth’s views on romantic relationships. Shakespeare was a playwright who lived and wrote his plays in the 16th century whereas Austen wrote only novels and lived in the 19th century. I think that the times that they lived was a contributing factor to how their views on romantic relationships were portrayed as the times that they lived in influenced their characters, plots and style of writing. The characters that I shall be focussing on in this essay shall be Juliet from Shakespeare’s classic love story’ Romeo and Juliet’ as well as Elizabeth who is a character from Austen’s well-loved novel, Pride and Prejudice. Juliet is a quiet, well-mannered girl to begin with but she then meets her beloved Romeo and everything changes. At the mere age of 14 she makes choices that will affect her life forever, but no necessarily for the better. On the contrary, Elizabeth Bennett is considerably older, at about the age of 20. She is feisty and not afraid to speak her mind however, she is challenged when Mr Darcy comes to the town. I am going to try to show exactly how Austen and Shakespeare portray Elizabeth and Juliet’s views on Romantic Relationships. Firstly, I shall compare Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting with Lizzie and Darcy’s first meeting. In Romeo and Juliet, we have only been introduced to the characters that same morning and by the evening they are hopelessly in love with each other. In their first moment to together Romeo questions that there is ‘sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my kiss again.’ The word ‘sweetly; suggests to the reader that Romeo thinks that Juliet is sweet and that she is the most beautiful thing that he has ever seen. Shakespeare also uses the technique of foreshadowing in this scene because they are so hopelessly in love, happy and joyous; something is bound to go wrong. I think that Shakespeare uses foreshadowing to convey his idea that you don’t always get what you want and you cannot be happy for ever. Moreover he conveys the idea that True love is possible. I know this because in Romeo and Juliet, the night that they meet, they are in love with each other, and they even agree to marry. Furthermore, Shakespeare’s attitude towards arranged marriage comes through very clearly in the third scene of the first act of the play. In this scene Juliet’s mother enters and tells her that the ‘valiant Paris seeks you for his love.’ The word ‘valiant’ is used in this way because the mother is trying to ‘sell’ Paris to Juliet so that she may be more inclined to marry him. Also she did not wish for her daughter to not be married, as soon enough, she would be too old for any worthy suitor to wed her. It was very common in Elizabethan for people to get married young because when you turned 14 you were considered to no longer be a child and therefore old enough to begin your own life. However, in Pride and Prejudice Lizzie and Darcy’s first meeting couldn’t be more different. The whole Bennet household are invited to the Netherfield ball, by person invitation of Mr Bingley. Sometime after the ball begins, Bingley and Darcy converse about the events of the night in which Mr Darcy replies by saying that Elizabeth was ‘tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me;…’. The word ‘tolerable’ suggests to the reader that Darcy can only just bare her and he doesn’t like her very much but, just to be ‘polite’ he decides to condone her. After the ball Mrs Bennet expresses her feelings to her family, on behalf of Lizzie, by saying that Mr Darcy was ‘…a disagreeable, horrid man, not worth pleasing…’. The word ‘disagreeable’ suggests to the reader that Mrs Bennet thinks Mr Darcy ‘rude’ and that she would never consider talking to him because of his bluntness, arrogance and impudence. The similarities between these...
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