William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a love story, set in Verona in the 16th century.
It tells of the tragic tale of two star crossed lovers. ‘Star crossed’
meaning that they are destined to be together by the stars and also
meaning that there paths will cross in a unfortunate way, this is also
to say that fate controls them, its not just the audience that are
aware of this, the characters are also very much aware of this, Romeo
and Juliet consistently see omens. At the beginning of the prologue
Shakespeare emphasises the word civil:
’ Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.’
This is ironic as they often engage in civil wars and shed ‘civil
blood’. In this play Shakespeare demonstrates the significance that
opposite feelings and emotions play in life.
The love story is played out against a background of hatred, violence
and aggression. Shakespeare illustrates various forms of love for
example the type of love Romeo and Juliet have for each other which is
as true deep and passionate, balancing out all aspects of true love
including, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Where-as Romeo and
Rosaline’s love was an unreturned love.
Before we met Romeo or Juliet we knew about them. We overhear her dad
and paris arranging the marriage and we hear montague talking about
romeo being inlove with Rosaline:
Many a morning hath he there been seen,
With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs;
But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
We know that the ‘Capulet’s’ and the ‘Montague’s’ don’t get on with
each other, we also now that they fight:
“Clubs, bills, and partisans! strike! beat them down!
Down with the Capulets! down with the Montagues”
This also shows that the townspeople are used to them fighting.
Shakespeare prepares for act 1 scene 5 by showing Romeo's infatuation
with Rosaline (a very strong “crush” on her). On the guest list for
the party, Rosaline is described as Capulet's “fair niece”, but she
never appears in the play. Capulet's speech to Paris (in 1.2) suggests
that Juliet has not been out of her house much (only, perhaps, to go
to worship and confession at Friar Lawrence's cell). Maybe this is why
Paris (a family friend) has noticed her, but Romeo has no idea who she
is. Immediately before this scene, Romeo has spoken of his fear that
“consequence yet hanging in the stars” shall begin at “this night's
revels” (Capulet's party).
When Romeo sees Juliet he speaks about her, using metaphor:
“She doth teach the torches to burn bright”.
This tells us that Juliet's beauty is much brighter than that of the
torches - so she is very beautiful. She is so much brighter that she
teaches the torches how to shine - a poetic...