Romeo’s Language Transformation
What comes to mind when one thinks of love? The story of Romeo and Juliet is usually one of the first things, but most people think that this tragedy has a happy ending. No, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet ends by the two star crossed lovers killing themselves out of love. The tragedy was written by William Shakespeare, who was well known for his use of figurative language in his many, many great works of literature. These types of language depict certain characteristics about characters in the play that normal language would not be able to accomplish. One of these characters is Mercutio, who talks in long, drawn out satire that is riddled with puns and metaphors, which create in one’s mind the image of one of the greatest characters of all time. Another one of these characters is Romeo himself, whose language shows him transforming throughout the play. His language, though, is of love. There are two types of love that Romeo experiences first hand: selfish, courtly love, and selfless, true love. In The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s language changes to reflect his development in the play from a selfish, courtly lover to a selfless, true lover of Juliet.
In the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s language in the beginning of the play shows how he is a selfish courtly lover. In the beginning of the play, Romeo’s shows how he is a courtly lover by his lack of friendship. His father remarks on this. He says that Romeo is “His own affections’ counselor/ Is to himself- I will not say how true/ But to himself so secret and so close” (Shakespeare The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet I.i.140-143). Romeo does not want anyone around him because he thinks that they don’t feel like he does. He assumes that they will not be able to help him, and therefore he keeps to himself. Romeo’s father, along with Benvolio and his mother, understand that Romeo is sad, but have no idea what about. His lack of language is the reason for his trouble. If he would talk it out with someone, which he does later on, he would feel much better, but instead he keeps to himself and wallows in his sorrow. This lack of friendship is one of the main qualities a courtly lover exhibits. In the beginning of the play, Romeo shows how he is a courtly lover by his attempt to isolate himself from everyone. His father tells of his son’s troubles again. He says that “And private in his chamber pens himself, /Shuts up his windows, locks far daylight out /And makes himself an artificial night” (I.i.131-133). By locking himself in his room, he shows that not only does he not want to be with people, but that he does not want to communicate with anything in the world. His isolation is caused by his state; he does not think anyone can relate to what he is feeling, so he locks himself in his room to hide from the world. The irony is his unwillingness to speak about his depression causes other to not know how to help him. So, by isolating himself and not speaking, he is not helping his depression, but going deeper into it. In the beginning of the play, Romeo shows how he is a courtly lover by his expression of his courtly lover state of depression. While talking with Benvolio, Romeo says “Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! /O anything, of nothing first create! /O heavy lightness! serious vanity! /Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! /Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! /Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! /This love feel I, that feel no love in this” (I.i.169-175). One who would read this would think Romeo has gone insane! And he has, insane with the depression caused by courtly love. His use of oxymora and paradox would be considered unhealthy in today’s terms. The reason for his depression is his feeling of courtly love, which makes him feel so different than everyone. This courtly love causes him to talk in nonsensical terms because any sense that was once with him left with his love. This felling of...
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