How Does Shakespeare Present the Theme of Love in Romeo and Juliet?

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Love Pages: 9 (3870 words) Published: February 10, 2011
‘Romeo and Juliet’, a play by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous love stories of all time and, while most people think that it focuses on just romantic love, it also includes many other types of love such as courtly love, friendly love, parental love and sexual love.

Sexual love is used in this play as comic relief between the serious parts, as an ice-breaker and to keep the audience entertained. Shakespeare included sexual love in this play because at the time, the audience for whom he’d be performing wouldn’t be very educated and including this would grab their attention straight away Sexual love is the first type of love displayed in this play. You meet two Capulet servants, Sampson and Gregory in the first scene. They are talking about women as sexual objects and nothing more. Sampson is talking about how he will ‘be cruel with the maids’ once he has taken care of the men, and how he ‘will cut off’ their ‘maidenheads’. He is talking about raping the wives of the men he has killed, referring to their virginities as their heads. He is also very generous about himself, suggesting that his penis is “a pretty piece of flesh’ and that women will be able to feel him while he is ‘able to stand’, meaning that he’s having an erection against the women. This is very sexual because to feel a man’s erection, you have to be very close to him and he has to be practically grinding against you, and be turned on by you. While they only see women as objects of lust, sexual love is not only relatable to men; women can be just as sexually-minded. In this play, Shakespeare does have a lot of sexual-orientated characters but one of the most amusing ones is possibly Juliet’s nurse. She finds a way to make everything she says sound suggestive when most people wouldn’t be able to. She may get it from her late husband, who was just as inappropriate as her, telling a three year old that she ‘will fall backwards when thou hast more wit’ which basically translates to him telling her that when she gets older she’ll know to lie backwards so a man can lie on top of her, which is completely senseless to say to a child. On the other hand, it is more likely Nurse was just always like that. Nurse seems to think that the only important thing to consider in a marriage is sex, saying that Juliet should ‘seek happy nights to happy days’ as if a good sex life is the key to having a happy marriage. She also has the skill to twist things that seem perfectly innocent into a sexual innuendo. Nurse also says that ‘women grow by men’ which is a double entendre of that women grow in status when they marry the right men, but Nurse is saying that they also grow pregnant and sex is a very important factor in a good and healthy marriage. Romeo and Mercutio also have the tendency to be sexually minded. Mercutio refers to Rosaline, the girl Romeo thinks he’s in love with as ‘medlar’, a rude way to refer to a woman’s or a man’s sexual anatomy and he also talks about Romeo as if he was ‘a poperin pear’ which is a pear shaped like a penis. Mercutio is very crude and sexual throughout this entire speech. Romeo, while you don’t see him being sexually orientated throughout the book, does have his moments away from the spiritual plains of love. He sneaks out to meet Juliet and is hoping that ‘her vestal livery is but sick and green’ and that she should ‘cast it off’ because ‘none but fools do wear it’. By saying this, he’s implying that he hopes she will not remain a virgin because he wants to marry her and have sex with her. While this isn’t quite as bad as the long speeches that Nurse and Mercutio make, it is still slightly sexual which shows that even people as spiritually inclined as Romeo can be orientated this way. Surprisingly, Juliet also has her moments even though she is very young. When Juliet is about to leave Romeo, Romeo inquires whether she will really...
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