Romeo and Juliet Essay
Shakespeare explores the theme of love through the varying degrees of power that it holds over the characters in Romeo and Juliet. The audience is witness to the destructive love as a result of fate, forced love through the arranged contractual marriages and the pure hate that occurs through a lack of love. Love helps to teach us that although it is an emotion that appears to be ever lasting people hold a wide range of passion or hostility towards it.
The love between the two star-crossed lovers is one that was destined for destruction. Romeo and Juliet are two lovers from opposing houses and whose parents hold an ‘ancient grudge’. Throughout the beginning there is a flicker of hope that their love may survive. Juliet states that her ‘bounty is as boundless as the sea/My love as deep’. The use of an alliterative metaphor represents Juliet’s endless love for Romeo. Also the comparison to the sea is symbolic for their tumultuous love and how it is as wild as the dangerous. Romeo is infatuated with Juliet and often compares her beauty to the sun ‘Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon’ it appears that only the sun is worthy of expressing her beauty. By personifying the sun he is able to do this, he uses a metaphor to reveal that even the moon is jealous of her beauty. Regardless of the strength of their love, Romeo and Juliet’s love story cannot avoid fate. This is revealed in the prologue as their introduction consists of ‘a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life…doth with their death bury their parents strife.’ This quote foreshadows their death and proves that their love story cannot avoid the foreshadowed death. Their death helps to amplify the tragedy of their love and enables Shakespeare to add more depth to his play and focus in on the foreshadowed death.
The historical context of Romeo and Juliet sets it within the Elizabethan era; a social expectation of this era was forced love. It was an expectation for a girl to carry out her father’s word and it was a disgrace to go against his word. The quote ‘I tell thee what: get thee to church a ‘Thursday, Or never after look me in the face’ is an accurate representation of this stereotype. The repetition of ‘thee’ shows the strength and power that her father enforces upon her life. It helps to reveal the aspect of love that is...