English Romeo and Juliet

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Sonnet, Shakespeare's sonnets Pages: 5 (1526 words) Published: June 17, 2014
In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the way different relationships are presented in Act 1 Scene 5 (in particular, the sonnet in that scene) and in two other Shakespearean sonnets, sonnet 18 and sonnet 130. William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, they were themed poems normally based on love and time. Sonnets were very popular with audiences in Elizabethan times so they knew what they meant and how there were used. All Sonnets have the same structure, each one has 14 lines with three quatrains with alternate rhyme and end with a rhyming couplet (Volta). The rhyme scheme of a sonnet is always “a b a b, c d c d, e f e f, g g”- also the lines of sonnet are written in iambic pentameter that is ten syllables across each line. This has the effect of internal rhythm within the poem which creates at tension between the two characters. Each of the sonnets have different language, are set in different places and have different speakers. There are several types of relationships that are explored in “Romeo and Juliet”. One of them is the relationships between Paris and Juliet, this represents the relationship of courtly love which was very common in Shakespeare’s time amongst noble time. He asks Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage, this was the acceptable method of courtship in the era and culture. A girl like Juliet would have expected an arranged marriage in those days. However this type of love was based on what the man could offer to the girl’s father and Juliet’s view was deemed as very unimportant. In contrast Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of love at first sight in which both people are in love with each other. Plus, their relationship is portrayed as pure and holy we know this because the language is bursting with religious imagery. Also Shakespeare uses a sonnet in Act 1 scene 5 to show the Elizabethan audience that Romeo and Juliet’s love is not just lust and sexual attraction but is based on holy, respectful, pure and unselfish love, “Dis my heart love till now? Forswear it sight!” -this quote shows Romeo’s love for her before they even speak.

In the sonnet from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the characters, Romeo and Juliet are speaking to each other in Act 1 Scene 5. The two lovers are together for the first time in the play; however they are both unaware that they come from enemy families that should stay away from each other. This creates tension amongst the audience as they know that Romeo and Juliet are star crossed lovers that they are from feuding families. This sonnet would be recognised by the Elizabethan audience and as a result it would engage their attention and produce dramatic tension. Shakespeare gives his character, Romeo, a sonnet filled with emotive religious imagery and language. For example, Romeo compares Juliet’s beauty to a “holy shrine”, which is where religious pilgrims went to worship in the Elizabethan era, he says this implying that she should be worshiped for her beauty. Romeo also calls Juliet a “dear saint” and “a rich jewel” This language is used by Romeo to emphasise to the audience how beautiful she is. This use of metaphorical language elevates her above other women and shows the audience that he considers her superior to ordinary mortals. It also highlights his impetuous and impulsive nature, as he seems to have completely forgotten about Rosalind, the subject of his supposed former infatuation. In addition to this in the sonnet, Romeo uses other different example of metaphorical language to create the effect of pure, holy love. For instance, he calls his lips “two blushing pilgrims” who want to worship at the shrine of Juliet’s beauty. Use of such imagery helps to convince the audience that Romeo and Juliet are in a loving relationship which elevate them both above the stressed shouting of the servants or the petty squabbling of Lord Capulet and Tybalt. Such effective figurative language is used throughout this sonnet and indeed the rest of the scene and the play in order...
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