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Love And Marriage In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

3448 words - 14 pages

Love and Marriage in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Love and marriage are key themes that run throughout "Romeo and
Juliet". The opinions of these two topics differ from each character.
Shakespeare based "Romeo and Juliet" on an earlier poem by Arthur
Brooke, "Romeus and Juliet". The opinions of the authors about the
subjects of love and marriage differ and it is shown in their writing.
Brooke condemned the conduct of Romeo and Juliet in a prose address at
the beginning of his book, describing them as:

"A couple of unfortunate lovers, thralling themselves to unhonest
desire, neglecting the authority and advise of parents…attempting all
adventures of peril for the attaining of their wished lust (and)
abusing the honourable name of marriage…"

On the other hand Shakespeare took a more gentle approach and was
sympathetic to the lover's plight as by the end of the play we only
feel sorry for the lovers whom had to battle against their obstructive
families.

In this play it seems as if love is doomed from the start by the
society full of hate in Verona. The whole play could have been based
on the oxymoron "loving hate", as love will always win over hate.

From the very beginning of the play love is condemned and in the
prologue all references to love are described with death:

"A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" Act1 sc1 8

"The fearful passage of death-marked love" Act1 sc1 9.
======================================================

There are always interruptions in the love scenes because hate is the
backdrop. The lovers' whole situation is fraught with danger. This is
illustrated both in the Balcony scene (Act2 sc2) and after the lovers
have consummated the marriage (Act3 sc5). During the balcony scene
there is always the fear that Romeo may be caught by one of Capulet's
guards and could be killed:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

"The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,

And the place death, considering who thou art,

If any kinsmen find thee here." Act2 sc2 63-65

The feud in the play has corrupted many people especially Sampson, as
his idea of lovemaking is purely aggressive. His hate for the house of
Montague is so intense that he even wants to rape their women.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

" Tis true, and therefore women being the weaker vessels are ever
thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague's men from the
wall, and thrust his maids to the wall." Act1 sc1 14-16

There we also have a sexist remark from Sampson saying that women are
inferior to men. In my opinion love is equal so here we see Sampson
talking of sex in a crude way and women as being subordinate. The
effect of these words shows us that the feud has taken...

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