Audience's Reaction to William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare is a famous writer who wrote many famous plays, probably
his most famous being Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is about a
couple who fall in love and get married, despite their families feud
which has been going on for generations. Shakespeare cleverly didn't
write what the feud was about, because it helps get his theme of
unresolved conflict leads to tragedy across. Shakespeare also uses
fate as a theme and gets this across by writing that fate conspires
against them; 'star-crossed lovers.' This fate conspires so much
against Romeo and Juliet that it is unrealistic to a modern day
(contemporary) audience, but in a Shakespearean audience it didn't
matter because as long as it was entertaining it was accepted. This
essay is about the reaction of a Shakespearean audience and a
contemporary audience would have towards Romeo throughout the play.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare presents Romeo as a young man
overcoming his adolescence. Romeo is seventeen years old and is
infatuated with Rosaline. This is shown by the flowery and insincere
language (poetry love) Romeo uses when speaking about Rosaline.
Rosaline has sworn to be a virgin and not to love or marry any man.
The audience knowing that Romeo is not truly in love with Rosaline and
is a petrarchan lover, may find it quite amusing, as this can be
related to a typical teenager of today. Romeo's friends dislike Romeo
being in love with Rosaline, because he is not his true self, which he
"Tut I have lost myself; I am not here.
This is not Romeo, he's gone some other where."
Romeo's friends, Mercutio and Benvolio, find Romeo boring and
unsociable. When they are offered to attend a party at the Capulet's
house, Romeo happily agrees to go, because Rosaline will be there. At
the party, Romeo sees Juliet, the only daughter of the Capulet's and
falls instantly in love with her and forgets about Rosaline.
"Rosaline, my ghostly father? No. I have forgot that name, and that
This proves Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline. We know that Romeo's
love for Juliet is sincere because of the language used between the
two of them. Romeo and Juliet's poetic love conversation ends up in
them deciding to get married. Both the contemporary and Shakespearean
audience would believe that Romeo and Juliet were being a bit rash
with this decision. A contemporary audience would also be a bit
worried about the fact that Juliet is only thirteen years old, which
is three years too young to get legally married, but to a
Shakespearean audience they may believe that it is about time Juliet
got married. This is because in Shakespearean times, girls were often
married by the age of eleven or twelve and even having families by the
age of thirteen...