Romeo & Juliet Essay

2747 words - 11 pages

Examine how Shakespeare presents love in a variety of forms in 'Romeo and Juliet'. Consider how the Language of the Characters reflects the meaning and importance of love in their lives.William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in 1594 and it has since become one of his most notable plays. It is one of the most famous love stories in history and is still relevant today and has gone through many modern adaptations most notably in the film West Side Story and for ballets.Love in its many forms plays a key part in the play. True and forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet is the key theme of the play but there are several other relationships and characters in the play where love of one form or another is displayed. There is love borne of friendship as that between Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio exhibit to one another. There is the love of the family as displayed between the Nurse and Juliet. The unrequited love that Romeo feels initially for Rosaline and the love of a sexual nature referred to by the Nurse and Mercutio. The different types of love add a lot of substance to the play - even though the requited love between the two protagonists is the main theme. Without the other types of love the play would not be so diverse and Romeo and Juliet might have had a normal relationship and not commit the double suicide at the end of the play.Love in friendship is shown in the friendships between Benvolio, Mercutio and Romeo. Benvolio as his name suggests is good and kind. He is the peacemaker. This manifests itself in our first meeting of him. 'I do but keep the peace. Put up thy swords.'Benvolio is Romeo's cousin. His language reflects his kindness and his love, reflected in his conversations with Romeo. Benvolio uses sympathetic language and offers advice to Romeo. This is seen in Act1 Scene1 when Lady Montague sends Benvolio to find out what is wrong with Romeo. Whilst offering advice to Romeo he uses sympathetic language 'Alas that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!' Here Mercutio is saying that although love is seen as an uplifting experience in fact when an individual is smitten by love it is not that at all. Here he is sympathising with Romeo's pain where he is 'out of her favour when (he is) in love'. He understands that Romeo is hurting and even though he knows that Romeo's love for Rosaline is not true he is still empathetic and tries to make Romeo conquer, his unrequited love for Rosaline. Benvolio does this by postulating ways in which he could do so such as 'by giving liberty unto thine eyes, examine other beauties.' Here he tells Romeo that he should try to forget about Rosaline by looking at other beautiful women. After finding out about the Capulet ball Benvolio offers this advice again saying 'compare her face with some that I shall show, and I will make thee think thy swan a crow.' Here he is saying that if Romeo admires other 'beauties of Verona' then Rosaline would seem merely average. Benvolio does...

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