Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet – Prologue Summary- The Chorus delivers a fourteen line sonnet, in which it states the topic of the play. In the city of Verona, there are two noble houses that hold an “ancient grudge” against each other, resulting in bloody clashes. From these two houses will emerge two “star-crossed” lovers (1.p.3-6). The lovers will heal the rift between their families by dying.Analysis- The Prologue introduces themes of love and death and individual vs. society. And by revealing that R and J will die, the Prologue goes further with fate: it literally creates their fate. R and J are fated to die because the Prologue says they will.
Romeo and Juliet – Themes Love – Love in Romeo and Juliet is not some pretty, idealized emotion. Yes, the love Romeo and Juliet share is beautiful and passionate. It is pure, exhilarating, and transformative, and they are willing to give everything to it. But it is also chaotic and destructive, bringing death to friends, family, and to themselves. Over and over in the play, Romeo and Juliet’s love is mentioned in connection with death and violence, and finds it’s greatest expression in their suicide.The theme of love in Romeo and Juliet also extends beyond the love that Romeo and Juliet feel for each other. All the characters in the play constantly talk about love. Mercutio thinks love is little more than an excuse to pursue sexual pleasure and that it makes a man weak and dumb. Lady Capulet thinks love is based on material things: Paris is handsome and wealthy; therefore Lady Capulet believes Juliet will love him. Lord Capulet sees love as obedience and duty. Friar Laurence knows that love may be passionate, but argues that it’s also a responsibility. Paris seems to think that love is at his command, since he tells Juliet that she loves him. In short, love is everywhere in Romeo and Juliet, and everyone sees it differently.
Romeo and Juliet – Themes Fate – Love in Romeo and Juliet is not some pretty, idealized emotion. Yes, the love Romeo and Juliet share is beautiful and passionate. It is pure, exhilarating, and transformative, and they are willing to give everything to it. But it is also chaotic and destructive, bringing death to friends, family, and to themselves. Over and over in the play, Romeo and Juliet’s love is mentioned in connection with death and violence, and finds it’s greatest expression in their suicide.The theme of love in Romeo and Juliet also extends beyond the love that Romeo and Juliet feel for each other. All the characters in the play constantly talk about love. Mercutio thinks love is little more than an excuse to pursue sexual pleasure and that it makes a man weak and dumb. Lady Capulet thinks love is based on material things: Paris is handsome and wealthy; therefore Lady Capulet believes Juliet will love him. Lord Capulet sees love as obedience and duty. Friar Laurence knows that love may be passionate, but argues that it’s also a responsibility. Paris seems to think that love is at his command, since he tells Juliet that she loves him. In short, love is everywhere in Romeo and Juliet, and everyone sees it differently.
Romeo and Juliet – Themes Individuals vs. Society – Because of their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet are forced into conflict with the social world around them: family, friends, political authority, and even religion. The lovers try to avoid this conflict by hiding, by escaping from it. They prefer the privacy of nighttime to the public world of day. They volunteer to give up their names, their social identities, in order to be together. They begin to keep secrets and speak in puns so that they can publicly say one thing while meaning another. On the morning after their marriage, they even go so far as to pretend that day is night so they won’t have to part.But no one can stop day from dawning, and in the end Romeo and Juliet can’t escape the responsibilities of the public world. Romeo tries to stop being a Montague and avoid fighting Tybalt, but fails. Juliet tries to stop being a Capulet and to stand up to her father when he tries to marry her off to Paris, but is abandoned by her mother and the Nurse. Romeo is banished from Verona by Prince Escalus, who embodies political law. Finally, to preserve their love, Romeo and Juliet are forced to the ultimate act of independence and privacy: suicide.
Romeo and Juliet – Themes Language and Word play – Romeo and Juliet constantly play with language. They pun, rhyme, and speak in double entendres. All these word games may seem like mere fun, and they are fun. The characters that pun and play with language have fun doing it. But word play in Romeo and Juliet has a deeper purpose: rebellion. Romeo and Juliet play with language to escape the world. They claim they are not a Montague and a Capulet; they use words to try to transform day, for a moment, into night; they hide their love even while secretly admitting it. Other characters play with language too. In particular, Mercutio and the Nurse make constant sexual puns implying that while everyone is running around talking about high ideals like honour and love, sex and other base desires are at the root of human existence. So language in Romeo and Juliet serves two opposing purposes. It allows some characters to escape the world into intense love, while it allows other characters to reveal that the world of love, honour, and high ideals are just masks people use to cover their animal instincts.
Romeo and Juliet – Themes Servants – For a play about the two noble teenagers struggling to preserve their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet sure has a lot of scenes focused on servants and non-nobles. Shakespeare did this by design. The recurring presence of servants in the play, from Peter, the Capulet servant who can’t read, to the apothecary who’s so poor he’s willing to sell poison, Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet goes to great efforts to show that the poor and downtrodden have lives of their own, and that to them Romeo and Juliet’s love and death mean absolutely nothing. After all, why would the death of two noble teenagers mean anything to servants just trying to make it through the day and scrounge up something to eat for dinner?
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis Romeo – The sixteen-year-old son of Montague and Lady Montague. He is cousins with Benvolio, and friends with Mercutio and Friar Laurence. Romeo’s defining characteristic is the intensity of his emotions—whether in anger, love, or despair. Romeo is also intelligent, quick-witted, loved by his friends, and not a bad swordsmen. Over the course of the play, Romeo grows from a an adolescent who claims to be in love with Rosaline, but in reality seems more in love with the idea of love and with being a miserable wretch in the mold of classical love poets, to a young man who shares a deep and passionate love with Juliet and is willing to face the obstacles of friends, family, the law, fate, and, ultimately, death in order to be with her.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analsysis Juliet – The beautiful thirteen-year-old daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet, and cousins with Tybalt. The Nurse is her closest friend and advisor. Juliet is naïve and sheltered at the beginning of the play, and has given almost no thought to love. But as soon as she meets and falls in love with Romeo she quickly develops into a woman of remarkable strength and resolve in pursuing what she wants. Like Romeo, she is willing to face all obstacles of society, fate, and death to be with her love. Yet even while head over heels in love, Juliet remains more grounded than Romeo. She even calls him on his silliness when he gets overly poetic. It seems possible to attribute much of Romeo’s transformation from a callous youth to a passionate lover to Juliet’s influence.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis The Nurse – The Nurse is a servant who nursed Juliet as a baby (the Nurse’s own baby died just before Juliet was born), and raised her through childhood. She is Juliet’s best friend and confidante, and in many ways is more her mother than Lady Capulet is. The Nurse can be quite sentimental, but also tends to go on and on with bawdy and sometimes embarrassing stories. Though the Nurse will do anything for Juliet, and helps Juliet to marry Romeo, in the end she proves herself to be pragmatic when it comes to love.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis Mercutio – Romeo’s close friend, and a kinsmen of Prince Escalus. Mercutio is a wild, antic, and brooding youth. He is a whiz with wordplay and is constantly dropping sexual puns, but beneath this playful and sarcastic veneer lies a bitter world-weariness. Mercutio hates romantic ideals of any sort, whether about honour or love, and mercilessly mocks those who hold them. This is a FOIL to Romeo in contrast of love.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis Friar Laurence – A Franciscan monk and a friend to both Romeo and Juliet. He preaches moderation because he understands that intensity of any kind of emotion, good or bad, can lead to disaster. Yet he gets caught up in his own hope for ending the feud between Montagues and Capulets. In the process, he shows himself to be quite a schemer.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis Capulet – Juliet’s father, Lady Capulet’s husband, and Tybalt’s uncle. He is the leader of the Capulet family, and an enemy of Montague. Capulet tries to appear like an even-minded and loving man, and he certainly does love his daughter, but he believes he knows what’s best for her, never consults her about her feelings, and is quick to anger when crossed or disobeyed.
Romeo and Juliet – Character Analysis Lady Capulet – Juliet’s mother, and Capulet’s wife. A woman who married Capulet when she was Juliet’s age (thirteen), she loves her daughter but is a flighty woman and an ineffectual mother who left most of the raising of her daughter to the Nurse. When it comes to marriage, Lady Capulet believes more in the material happiness a “good match” can bring than in love.
Romeo and Juliet – Symbol Analysis Light/ Dark, Day/ Night – Romeo and Juliet is filled with imagery of light and dark. But while light is traditionally connected with “good” and dark with “evil,” in Romeo and Juliet the relationship is more complex. Romeo and Juliet constantly see each other as forms of light. In the balcony scene, Romeo describes Juliet as the sun, while Juliet describes Romeo as stars. But the relationship between light and dark is complicated by the lover’s need for the privacy of darkness in order to be together. As Romeo says when the sun dawns on the morning when he is to be banished from Verona, “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes!” So while Romeo and Juliet see each other as light, in order for their light to shine brightly it needs the contrast of darkness, of night, to make it powerful.

You Might Also Like