Understanding Romeo And Juliet Essay

927 words - 4 pages

1. What values does your character most cherish? What values does your character reject?
The value Romeo most cherishes is privacy between him and Juliet. The value of privacy is expressed through the metaphor of night. Through night, darkness is a veil that removes any obligations to social institutions and implications, rules and regulations. In short, night is the individual’s escape from the public world. In a way, the lover’s eventual suicides may be viewed as an eternal night. Romeo rejects the values of his surrounding public and social institutions. The placement of familial power on the head masculine figure of the household creates a profound obstacle between Romeo and Juliet. Both lovers must rebel against their lineage especially Juliet. Because of the patriarchal power structure, Juliet’s love is not hers to give away. There is a strong hostility between their two families that conflict with the renaissance value of honor.
2. What is your character's conception of sin? Of justice?
Romeo’s concept of sin is not taking action. Romeo and Juliet defy the whole social world of the play: their own families (“Deny thy father and refuse thy name”), friends (Romeo abandoning Mercutio) and ruler (Romeo’s return to Verona after being exiled). In a religious form of sin, Romeo rejects many of the values and traditions of Christianity and often thinks of his love in blasphemous passages. Romeo is quick, rash and impulsive towards justice most likely because of his naïve immaturity. Romeo, while refusing to obey many of the social norms, still acts within masculine honor. All values and morality associated with rational thought fall wayside to unconditional love.
3. How much of your character's action is an exercise of free will and how much is the result of fate or other forms of external control?
Romeo and Juliet are branded from the beginning as “star-crossed lovers” insinuating that it is the power of fate that controls them. There was a renaissance belief that fate’s power was often endowed in the movements of stars. The text is fraught with references and antitheses of day and especially night. In the final death scene upon believing Juliet to be dead, Romeo proclaims that he will defy the stars, backing the idea that Romeo and Juliet’s love is umbrella’d by destiny. Their love is in defiance of destiny although, Romeo’s desire for eternal love with Juliet, results in both their deaths and plays into the hands of fate. Fate is also involved with other external forces that prevent the lovers from being together such as the influence of the social institutions of the feuding families. In scene five act three Romeo references the very real and urgent danger that surrounds the lovers when he says “I must be gone and live or stay and die.”...

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