Analyzing the Contrast Of Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's greatest and most popular
plays, a romantic tragedy written in about 1593.
An underlying feature running throughout the play is Shakespeare's use
of contrast, love/hate, young/old, life/death, light/dark,
tragedy/comedy and real/unreal.
Shakespeare draws out, illustrates and emphasises those contrasts by
clever use of language, character, and the plot itself.
What I feel is one of the most important aspects of the play is the
contrast between love and hate, and I will deal with this aspect now.
The whole basis of the play is the great love between Romeo and Juliet
which is set against the background of the great hatred between the
montagues and the capulets.
An example of love versus hate occurs through Romeo and Juliet and the
hate between their families. The love that Romeo and Juliet share
completely opposes the deep roots of anger and hate between their
parents. The quote from the chorus ( at the beginning of the play )
best states this.
" Two houses, both alike in dignity â€¦ From ancient grudge break to new
mutinyâ€¦A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life: Whose
misadventured piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their
parents strife "
"Romeo & Juliet" is a play of great love, but there is also great
fighting and quarrelling in the play.
As far as the aspect of love is concerned, when Juliet meets Romeo she
realises for the first time in her life (although of course she is
still not 14 yrs old) what real romantic love is. The attraction is
instant & so immediate that she hopes Romeo is not already married:
"Go ask his name: if he be married my grave is like to be my wedding
bed"(Act 1 Scene 5)
She is devastated when she realises he is a Montague, from the family
her family hates. So love is immediately contrasted with hate.
The love between Romeo & Juliet is today a symbol of great romantic
love between a man and a woman. A great lover is called a "Romeo".
"There are so many examples of the great love between Romeo & Juliet
but my favourite speech in the play ( & which shows Juliet's great
love for Romeo in the clearest light) is in Act 3 Scene 2:
"....and when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be
in love with night and pay no attention to the Garish sun"
Romeo & Juliet show romantic love but Shakespeare also contrasts
different types of love as well. Romantic love is contrasted with
unromantic love where people marry not for love but for financial
reasons or to advance their social status. There is the contrast
between spiritual love and sexual love. Between passionate love and
love "in moderation". However the main contrast is still between love