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Light and Dark motifs within "Romeo and Juliet"

By melooche4 Dec 05, 2006 589 Words
For my essay I chose to describe the light and dark motifs in "Romeo and Juliet". A motif is a term used to describe a passage in literature that has more than one universal meaning. It is used when a character or narrator is comparing one thing to another. For example the light motifs represent light things such as goodness, while dark motifs represent dark things such as death.

One light quote from the story is during the balcony scene when Romeo is talking about Juliet. He says "It is the East and Juliet is the sun" (act II, scene ii, line 4). This motif has more than one meaning. One meaning could possibly be that the sun is very hot and gives off a very strong glow that blocks out all of the stars and the moon, much like Juliet is very beautiful and gives off a glow that makes all other girls disappear as Romeo says. In this motif the tenor would be Juliet, the vehicle would be the sun and the ground would be how their glow blocks out all else.

A dark motif that is in the story is when Romeo is sulking about because Rosaline dumped him and he doesn't wish to go out and crash the Capulet's party. He says " I have a soul of lead so stakes me to the ground I cannot move" (act I, scene iv, line 15-16). In this motif Romeo is sad and grieving that his girlfriend left him and does not want to do anything but mope about it. Since Romeo called this girl the true love of his life he was very depressed that she left him. His soul is so heavy with the loss of his love that he feels as if he cannot move or do anything at all.

Another dark motif is when Juliet says "Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face" (act II, scene ii, line 86). In this motif the tenor is Juliet, the vehicle is the mask of night and the ground is that night is very dark and sometimes sad just like her face right now. She is depressed because she is concerned that she and Romeo won't be able to be together because of the feud between the two families.

Another light motif in the story is again at the balcony scene when Romeo says " Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven". When Romeo makes this comment he is referring to Juliet's eyes. He thinks they are the most beautiful eyes that he has ever seen. He compares them to the biggest and brightest stars in the sky.

The last light quote that will be mentioned is when Juliet is talking to Romeo outside her window. She says "This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet" (act II, scene ii, line 122-123). With this quote she means that by the next time Romeo and Juliet meet there love may have blossomed into something much larger than it already is. She uses this motif because like a flower love can grow from something small to something much larger.

These motifs may seem as if they have nothing in common but that is not true. All of these motifs refer to Romeo and Juliet's love. These quotes help understand the deepness of these this love by expressing the high and low points of their conversations. Shakespeare's motifs enrich the story by giving us different views on the stronger aspects of the story.

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