The Theme of Love in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet The main theme in 'Romeo and Juliet' is love, and how it occurs in
many forms. There are a number of different types of love in 'Romeo
and Juliet'. Some examples of the types of love in Romeo and Juliet
are Romeo's fashionable love for Rosaline, the Nurse's bawdy view of
love and the Capulet's unromantic view of love. All of these types of
love are in contrast to the main type of love expressed by Romeo and
Juliet which is true love.
We can see that at the beginning, Romeo is lovesick for a girl called
Rosaline. Rosaline is a woman that we do not find much about, but
before meeting Juliet. Romeo is very much infatuated by her because it
was trendy in the Elizabethan Era for young men to pursue unattainable
women that were usually older, wealthier, of a higher class, or that
had sworn a vow of chastity. With this in mind, it was natural for
Romeo to fall for a beautiful woman like Rosaline, who had sworn a vow
of chastity, "She'll not be hit/ With Cupid's arrowâ€¦And in strong
proof of chastity". His love for her was not returned, which resulted
in Romeo becoming the typical lovesick character, which was
fashionable in that era.
Furthermore, we learn that Romeo's love for Rosaline is not only
fashionable, but also superficial - he is only attracted to her
because of her looks; "The all-seeing sun/ Ne'er saw her match since
first the world begun". Romeo states that Rosaline is the most
beautiful woman that has ever lived. However, Romeo does not say that
he is actually in love with her for any other reason. We can also see
that Romeo is speaking in rhyming couplets:
Alas that love whose view is muffled still
Should without eyes see pathways to his will.
While Romeo is speaking in rhyming couplets, he is also repeating
lines of Petrarchan love poetry. People would recognise that Romeo was
using Petrarchan love poetry and it would show that his love for
Rosaline is as artificial as his language. Furthermore, Romeo's
elaborate language, which is full of imagery and rhyming couplets,
shows that his love is not sincere, but is merely infatuation. Romeo
is in fact in love with the idea of being in love.
We can also see that Romeo is very confused and starts to list many
oxymorons, "Feather of Lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health".
All of these phrases are oxymorons, the fact that Romeo has listed a
great deal of them, confirms his extreme confusion. An oxymoron was a
popular language device in the love poetry of Shakespeare's time. The
audience could have related with this which further adds to the fact