Advanced English 11-Literary Paper Final Draft
March 20, 2013
Themes in Romeo and Juliet
Everyone is affected by love in his or her own ways. William Shakespeare uses his intelligence to deeply describe the characters and how they make their next decision for one another. In Romeo and Juliet, the three important themes that are used throughout the play are the aspect of love, fate, and time and haste. In this paper I will be showing the three main themes in Romeo and Juliet and how those themes had effect on the characters in the play.
The aspect of love is a major theme that can be found in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the story many characters have relationships between each other. Courtly love, which is a type of love, is presented throughout the play. Courtly love is an old medieval tradition that defined what love was and showed the code of behavior for lovers (Brodwin 493). The lover usually falls in love at first sight and is usually not between husband and wife. Its usually between boyfriend and girlfriend and is a very emotional relationship. Romeos love for Rosaline is based on a courtly relationship only meeting once their love for each other was very strong. Rosaline never appeared on stage and the distance between Romeo and Rosaline builds an allusion that she soon is unaware of Romeos existence. Romeo suffers through his emotion because he feels that she thinks that he doesn’t exist (Hacht 774).
Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other also deals with courtly love. They fall in love at first sights just like Romeo and Rosaline. There challenges only strengthen their love between each other where in most cases it usually weakens (Hacht 774). Romeo takes his love farther than just courtly love as for Rosaline they stopped there. Romeo and Juliet have great feeling for each other and have a love that has a spiritual quality (Hacht 774). They also have a clandestine relationship with each other. Romeo and Juliet only meeting at night and telling no one but the Nurse and Friar Laurence. Meeting only at night has a special significance on their love for each other. Juliet uses very strong words to describe her love for Juliet when he is on top of the balcony (Shakespeare). Juliet says: “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! . . . her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. . . O, Speak again, bright angel! For thou art As Glorious to this night, being o’er my head, As is a winged messenger of heaven” (Shakespeare Act II. ii. 2-3, 20-2, 26-8). What Juliet means by this is she converts the terrors of night to glory. She compares Romeo to a bright angel because Juliet thinks he is the greatest man she has every meet. Juliet is saying that Romeo is filled with lots of aspects and that in her eyes he is almost like a god to her. When Romeo hears this great, beautiful, long description from Juliet Romeo then say: “I have nights cloak to hide me from their sight; And but thou love me, let me find me here. My life were better ended by their hate Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love” (Shakespeare Act II. Ii. 75-8). Romeo just tells Juliet how she is so beautiful and at the darkness of the night is where their true love is the strongest. In the play there are some characters that have a sexual love and also a contractual love. The Nurse and Mercutio have a love that is not courtly love but sexual love that is shown throughout the play (Hacht 774). Mercutio in the story just uses the Nurse to satisfy his needs and doesn’t stay long enough with her to find out what she really feels about him (Hacht 774). There is also contractual love that is presented in the story between the main characters. The Capulet’s insists that Juliet must marry Paris. So the Nurse tells Juliet that she has to forget about Romeo and to marry Paris. “This is contractual...
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