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Shakespeare's Language And The Main Characters' Views About Love

3434 words - 14 pages

Shakespeare's Language and the Main Characters' Views About Love

The language of Shakespeare's characters within Romeo and Juliet is
entirely different between each character. The characters' language
provides the reader, occasionally subtle, but present information of
their experiences and views of love.

At the start of the play, in Act 1 Scene 1, there is a theme of
mystery, as none of the Montagues, as well as Mercutio, can appreciate
the meaning of Romeo's sadness and solitariness. He is disorientated
and gloomy. The reason, we soon find out, is because he has been
rejected by a girl called Rosaline. This event is similar to Paris'
impassionate conventional love for Juliet, but it is more
self-indulgently melancholy: perhaps it is because we never meet
Rosaline and only view Romeo's feelings directed more at himself than
the supposed target of his affections. In my opinion, Romeo only
believes that he is in love, but is actually only in love with the
idea of being in love. His eloquent and flamboyant metaphorical
language shows that he is able to find words to describe her and is
not over-awed by her, resulting in a loss for words. He describes her
as "saint-seducing", and beautiful and witty. He doesn't think he will
ever forget her, "thou canst not teach me to forget" and he thinks
there is nobody as wise or as fair. However, she is "uncharmed from
love's weak childish bow." Here, there is a hint that Romeo could be
aware that his love is weak and childish. He uses numerous oxymorons
to emphasise his emotions and feelings about the love and hate between
the two families, "Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate."

Romeo and Juliet's scenes together are treated in a most romantic
approach. When Romeo and Juliet first meet in Act 1 Scene 5, their
flamboyant language illustrates their immediate fascination with each
other and the importance and significance of their meeting is
highlighted by a sonnet, of which there are only four in total
throughout the play. Sonnet writing was a popular and highly esteemed
activity at Queen Elizabeth's court during Shakespeare's time, so
Elizabethans would have recognised and understood the significance of
a sonnet. Shakespeare used a sonnet form because it is a bold device
to emphasise devoted love, as it is the most widely used form of love
poetry. Romeo and Juliet's conversation in an extended image shows
that he views Juliet as heavenly and angelic and compares her to a
shrine or saint. The lovers' vocabulary draws extensively upon
Christianity: "profane", "sin", "devotion", "prayer" and the amused
Juliet teases the desperate Romeo and his pleas for a kiss by saying "Ay,
pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer". This religious language
isolates the characters from the rest of the scene and its bustling
activity. Early modern...

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