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Whats Love All About - Romeo&Juliet

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What’s love all about? Select five quotes from the play about love and explain the ideas presented.

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is predominately about love although it is a tragedy because love was a cause of the protagonists’ struggles and death. The first kind of love explored in the play is that of romantic love between young lovers who are attracted to each other. However, other forms of love are also portrayed – namely, unrequited love, the love between parent and child and the love between friends. These various forms of love have been emphatically depicted in Shakespeare’s tale. Shakespeare does this through his effective use of language, five key quotes of which will be analysed in this essay.

One of the parts of the play which demonstrates Romeo’s love for Juliet clearest is perhaps the scene just before he commits suicide at her grave. In this scene he asks rhetorically “How oft when men are at the point of death/Have they been merry, which their keepers call/A lightning before death!” This shows that he is in a unique position to think that death is a happy moment for him because he can then join Juliet who he thought had already passed. Even while he is staring at her corpse, Romeo remarks that “Death…Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.” That is, he still believes Juliet is beautiful in her tomb. He asks whether death is also so in love too with Juliet that he keeps her here “to be his paramour” or mistress. Romeo then commits suicide after declaring that he will never “from this palace of dim night/Depart again”. This speech shows that Romeo’s powerful romantic love for Juliet persists even after her apparent death.

Apart from the mutual love between Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare also explored the power of unrequited love such as that which Romeo has for Rosaline. In Act 1, scene 1, Romeo discusses with Benvolio the power that love has over him given his infatuation over Rosaline. In a speech, Romeo poses the rhetorical question “Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,/Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!”. Here, he refers to love being supposedly blind but it still has the power to control what lovers do. Romeo then states that love is a mess or conflict of opposite things being “O heavy lightness, serious vanity,/Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!/Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health”. These are oxymorons which captures Romeo’s conflicted feelings of love for Rosaline but sadness that she does not reciprocate that love.

Parental Love is evident in the play, in particular between Juliet and her Nurse. Although Nurse is not Juliet's biological parent, she acts towards Juliet in the manner by where she shows love through care and concern for Juliet and her actions just like a genuine parent would. This is exemplified in Act 1, Scene 3 where Nurse says to Juliet “You were the prettiest baby I ever nursed. If I live to see you get married someday, all my wishes will come true.” Throughout the play, it is obvious that the relationship between Juliet and the nurse is strong because the nurse is the only person that Juliet tells about Romeo to. Juliet is comfortable with and at ease when speaking to the Nurse evident in the scenes where by Juliet would go to Nurse for advice and help whenever she had an queries.

Romeo and Mercutio's relationship comprehends care and concern for each other. Mercutio's concern is usually for Romeo and for peace between the Montagues and Capulets. Mercutio hears about Romeo's new love and calls for Romeo by saying, “Romeo! Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover! My invocation is fair and honest, in his misteress' name...” That is, Mercutio expresses his concern to Romeo as he does not want Romeo to marry Juliet because he knows it will cause trouble between the two families. Also, during Act 3, scene 1, Mercutio fights Tybalt on behalf of Romeo and for their friendship. Romeo tries to break up the fight, although still Tybalt manages to stab Mercutio. When Romeo realises that Mercutio is dying, Romeo exclaims “This gentleman, the Prince's near ally, My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt/In my behalf. My reputation stained with Tybalts slander.” He then says “Alive in triumph- and Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respective lenity and fire-eyed fury will be my conduct now” and proceeds a duel with Tybalt as a return of Mercutio's kind service and loyalty. From the event, it is evident that their love, expressed through care and concern, for one another functions conjointly.

In conclusion, from Romeo and Juliet it is safe to say that love is not easy and is a tragedy at times as love sometimes requires suffering by the individuals of the relationship – at times even death of a member. From the play, it is portrayed that: love has power and influences on what the individual does, and love involves and is usually expresses through mutual care and concern for one another. However, love is favourable in some circumstances. This is evident in the the reunion of the Capulet and Montague family after the tragic event of Romeo and Juliet dying. The outcome of the play was propitious despite the hardship.

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