Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1595 and takes place in the Italian city of Verona and surrounding areas. The story centers on the tragic love story of Romeo (A Montague) and Juliet (A Capulet). They fall for each other but their love must be secret as their families share a bitter hatred of each other. The play shows the ‘star crossd lovers’ effort to get away from each of their families and the problems that arise in their plan. Romeo and Juliet is an age old play but is still very well known in today’s society because of its long lasting universal themes – love and hate, war and peace, arranged marriage and so on.
In this essay I will try to and hopefully succeed in answering the above question as well as possible, using the knowledge that I know of and quotes from the play.
Just before Act 1 scene 5, Romeo is infatuated by Rosaline and is distressed because he loves her but she does not love him. ‘Out of her favor where I am in love’. Romeo is annoyed by Rosaline and later on he shows that his unfortunate relationship with her has made time go very slowly. This is a complete contrast to Juliet, who when Romeo is with her, time seems to fly.
Later on, Benvolio and Mercutio tell Romeo that he should come to Capulet’s party,
Citing that he would find another girl and forget all about Rosaline.
‘ I fear too early, for my mind misgives…..
Some consequence, hanging in the stars
Romeo conveys his idea about that there might be a problem, going to the ball. He says that there might be a problem and it will be bad. His friends do not car about what he has said and take him to the party, showing that he has no power over what his friends do, telling us he is not very forceful.
While at the party, Tybalt sees and recognizes Romeo and is furious until Capulet confronts him and tells him off.
‘He shall be endured….. Am I the master here, or you? …
You will make a mutiny amongst my guests!’
This demonstrates Capulet’ anger with Tybalt apparent freedom ness to do what he wants. He shouts at him, telling him off, telling him that he is the master and Tybalt will do as Capulet wants. Word such as Mutiny are linked to military actions and shows that Capulet is very much in control and very strict. This shows that Capulet is strong and forceful.
Tybalt is taken aback and shows his intense hatred with comments like:
‘It fits when such a villain is a guest, Il not endure him!’
This suggests that Tybalt intensely hates Montague’s and wishes nothing more than for them to die. Other comment use strong language and shows that Tybalt is loose cannon; also showing is passion for his hatred.
On the other hand, Romeo sees Juliet for the first time and is taken aback by how beautiful she is:
‘Did my heart love till now? ……
For I never saw true beauty till this night.’
This shows that Romeo sees Juliet as the most beautiful thing Romeo has ever seen, and he has probably forgotten all about Rosaline, who he appeared to have such a huge infatuation with at the beginning of the play. Romeo says this quote at the point of his monologue when he is watching Juliet dance. Words such as ‘ true beauty’ show Romeo’s passion. They talk and kiss, falling for each other.
At the end of the party the mood changes totally. Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet and is distressed:
‘Is she a Capulet? O dear account,
My life is my foes debt’
This language shows that Romeo is disappointed and annoyed. ‘My life is my foes debt’ implies that his life is in ruins as his love is his enemy. Juliet shares the same emotions when Nurse tells her that Romeo is a Montague.
‘My only love sprung from my only hate…..
That I must have loathed an enemy.’
Juliet’s comment there shows there shows that Juliet is disappointed as well, with her only love coming from her intense enemy. It seems quite ironic that is that this happens and gives the story a unique twist, giving the story more life. Words such as ‘loathed’ show Juliet’s disappointed as loathed is a strong word in my view.
After Capulet’s party in act 1 scene 5, Romeo shares the famous balcony scene with Juliet. They exchange vows of love and agree to marry in secret. The following day, with the help of Friar Lawrence and Nurse, Romeo and Juliet marry. On Romeo’s way back, he encounters Mercutio and Tybalt fighting because Tybalt was angry with Romeo’s presence at the party. Tybalt kills Mercutio, causing Romeo to become very mad and slay Tybalt. Prince hears of this and vows that when he finds Romeo he will banish him to Mantua. Romeo spends one last night with Juliet and in the morning he sets forth, out of Verona forever. That same morning, Capulet tries to help Juliet’s apparent misery about Tybalt’s death (when really it was about Romeo) by agreeing to give Paris Juliet’s hand in marriage. Juliet is distraught and disagrees, causing Capulet to threaten to disown her. That day, Juliet seeks Friar Lawrence who gives her a potion to let her into a deathly sleep for 24 hours. She will wake up in the crypt, awaiting Romeo (who will be alerted by letters) to take her away. This is where we come into more detail.
At night, Juliet is being attended to by the Nurse and her mother. She wishes for them to leave her alone and uses orisons (prayers) as an excuse.
‘I pray thee leave me….. For I am in need
of many orisons’
This comment shows ‘desperate times call for desperate shows’, as Juliet uses such holy acts to be left alone. It also shows that Juliet may be a sinner, as Lady Capulet had no queries about her prayers, she might pray a lot- a lot of sins. Most probable answer would be Lady Capulet thinking it was Tybalt who she was crying about. When Juliet is alone, she begins to think that the mixture will not work and she is afraid.
‘What if this mixture does not work at all? … Shall I be married
then tomorrow morning?’
This, as I have already said, shows Juliet’s fear of it not working. It shows very strongly that Juliet is extremely afraid of getting married to Paris. This shows commitment to Romeo. Juliet then begins to doubt the friar and his involvement with the whole marriage and the supposed sleeping potion.
‘What if it be poison which the Friar subtly administered to
Have me dead’
This again conveys fear. Juliet is quite right to think this, if anyone found out about the marriage and who married them, it would be Friar who would be in trouble. He would need to clean up his tracks if he were to remain safe and no one would know. Many different angles are being rushed around in Juliet’s mind. Juliet then begins to think about when she inside the crypt. What if she wakes up and Romeo is not there?
‘How if, when I am laid in the tomb, I wake
Before Romeo comes…. And I am there strangld’
Juliet has many fears; most of all is dying and marriage to Paris. This again shows Juliet’s fear, as with the other four quotes in this paragraph. Words such as strangld show that she is afraid of suffocation. In other comments about the crypt, Juliet fears the bodies in the tomb may come alive and attack her. She fears most of all, Tybalt’s body.
She eventually drinks the potion out of love for her Romeo.
‘Romeo, Romeo here’s the drink – I drink to thee’
This again shows Juliet’s love and commitment for Romeo. She will risk anything for love, much of the same as Romeo would do if he were in the same position. It shows that they are truly in love and were meant to be.