Romeo Indepth Character Analysis

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In Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare creates irony within the conflict of handling and expressing emotions. He contrasts the perspectives of the various characters against Romeo’s inability to foresee the consequences of his extreme actions in response to his ever-changing feelings. As a result, the audience gains a big picture view of Romeo’s egocentricity and helplessness to manage his emotions. Shakespeare uses figurative language to illustrate the recoccuring theme of exaggeration within the character’s dialogue, especially Romeo. Throughout the play, Romeo’s character is reliant on the exaggeration and confidence with which he projects his emotions. Romeo wouldn’t be Romeo if he didn’t perceive his capacity for love or the fiery passion he sees within himself as unstoppable. Romeo illustrates his extreme response to emotions when he professes his divine adoration of Juliet. Arriving under Juliet’s balcony Romeo whispers sweet nothings, “O, speak again, bright angel, for though art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head, as is a winged messenger of heaven…” (2.2.30) Romeo’s use of metaphors gives the audience a characteristically overdramatic view of his less-than-24-hours-love. Having just met Juliet, Romeo is already idolizing her into the form of an angel, which, in today’s world, would be like saying, “You’re out of this world!” To add to his metaphor, Romeo’s speech also encompasses a double meaning. In Shakespearian times, the ideas surrounding heaven and religion often went hand in hand with marriage and love. When Romeo uses words like heaven, angel and glorious in his declaration of Juliet’s beauty, his over exaggerated feelings of idolization and matrimony come across clear. Furthermore, the power of love Romeo perceives within himself, and the “cloak” of invincibility he believes it provides, puts him in danger. When Romeo is confronted by the possibility of being killed by Juliet’s guards he brushes it off, “I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes, and but thou love me, let them find me here. My life were better ended by their hate than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.” (2.2.80) Armed by the shield of love, Romeo justifies Juliet’s warnings by saying he has “night’s cloak,” a metaphor for darkness, to hide him and that even if her guards found him, his love for her is so strong that he would rather die than not have her love. Romeo thinks he’s the center of the universe and when he is enraptured with something he assumes everyone else is enraptured the same way. Because Romeo feels love, he believes that everyone else feels happy with love as well, although, ironically, he is one of the only people who feel’s the love. Additionally, the strength of Romeo’s emotions turned into actions quickly turns deadly when he realizes that his loving perspective of the world isn’t seen by all and he witnesses the resulting death of his friend. After Romeo accidentally steps between a deadly fight he regrets it, saying, “O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate and in my temper softened valor’s steel.” (3.1.115) Romeo uses the metaphor of “valor’s steel” to convey the idea that prior to meeting Juliet his bravery and courage was as strong as steel, then Juliet’s beauty made it like a woman’s. Because Romeo was so overcome with love, he thought that everyone else would be as well. Like a baby, Romeo doesn’t realize that his own emotions weren’t at the center of everyone else’s thoughts. Romeo’s failure to see past his own feelings leads to Mercutio’s death. Ironically, giving love is polar opposite of being egocentric, yet Romeo tries to show love to everyone and change their feelings to make them more like his own; by doing this Romeo is being egocentric. Romeo’s inaccurate self-perception is noticed within the very characters he associates with. Throughout the play Romeo’s friends and lovers accept, and seemingly enable, his erratic behavior that always ends in discord....
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