There are many instances of symbolism in Romeo and Juliet. One good example of symbolism in Act 2 is Friar Lawrence’s remark about poison (2.2.15-31). He says that all plants, herbs, and stones have their own qualities. He goes on by saying that there is nothing on Earth that cannot be used to do both good and bad things. Therefore, according to Friar Lawrence, poison is not intended to be used only for evil purposes. It is just a natural thing on this Earth that is used for evil purposes once in the hands of humans. One such evil purpose would be to kill someone. Poison symbolizes how society tends to take something that is beneficial and use it in a way that is harmful or deadly. This symbol is actually demonstrated in the play. The feud between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s itself is an example of this. The hate between the two families turns the love between Romeo and Juliet into something that is deadly. Later on in the story the deadly part is seen. There is not really a character with bad intentions in Romeo and Juliet. The environment in which the people in Verona live turns their good traits into poison.
Another instance of symbolism in Romeo and Juliet is when the love between Romeo and Juliet is used as a symbol of religion. When Romeo says “Call be but love and I’ll be new baptized” (2.2.54), he is saying that Juliet’s love will make him born again. When Juliet says that Romeo is the god of her idolatry (2.2.120), she is saying that she worships Romeo as if he was God. These statements give you an idea that both Romeo and Juliet view their love as a kind of “religious experience”. Apparently, Romeo views the love as a “purification” of himself and Juliet thinks of it as a “worship” of Romeo.
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