Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and has
been described as a romantic tragedy. I will be looking at the
different types of love in the play and how the language and drama
The play opens with a Prologue from the Chorus who warn of the tragedy
“……….A pair of two star-cross’d lovers take their life:……. ”
Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are the star-crossed lovers who die
because their families, who have been feuding for generations, cannot
accept the young people’s love for one another. The phrase
‘star-crossed’ evokes the recurring theme of celestial forces
directing the outcome of the story. When Romeo first meets Juliet it
was ‘love at first sight’ which quickly developed into something
deeper and more profound.
This is reflected in the language which changes from blank verse to
sonnet form (I.5. 93-106). This raises the tone of the emotion and
illustrates for the audience, the empathy in thought and feeling,
between Romeo and Juliet. The imagery is religious, tender and
“My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand”
Romeo is hoping for a kiss from Juliet who stalls him by playing along
with the imagery.
“For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, and palm to palm
is holy palmers’ kiss
There are lots of ‘o’ and ‘s’ sounds which slow the pace of the
exchange, and this is in contrast to Tybalt’s harsh, clipped language.
In Romeo and Juliet we see how Shakespeare creates dramatic tension
using the contrast between the public and private scenes. We notice
that the private scenes are between Romeo and Juliet and their
relationship. These are followed by public scenes which involve
fighting and feuding, and this reminds the audience of the enmity
between the two families, the tragic background to the love affair.
These conflicts create drama and action in the play. Changes in
location, pace and mood is another dramatic device which also keeps
the audience engaged. The private scenes take place indoors and
usually at night creating a secret and romantic atmosphere. On the
other hand the public scenes are set in the open, in the streets and
during the hot day which is associated with stress, noise and action.
When we first meet Romeo he is in love with a girl called Rosaline.
However, we soon see that this ‘love’ is idealised and he is in love
with the idea of being in love. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is young and
innocent, he is confused and his ‘love’ is not reciprocated. He finds
“Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous,
and it pricks like thorn.”
His friends tease him about his teenage ‘crush’ and want Romeo to
lighten up. Then in the next scene Romeo meets Juliet and seems to