William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet Essay

6282 words - 25 pages

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

In Romeo and Juliet account for the changes that take place in the
character of Romeo through the course of the play. Explore the use of
language and staging in your answer.

In this essay I will examine how Romeo changes from a childish,
petulant boy into a mature, grown-up young man. I will look, in detail
at how Romeo's character changes from the beginning of the play where
we see him in an immature mood, to the stage where he has matured and
then to the point of the play where he regresses back to his
despondent and hysterical mentality, but by the end he is a more
sincere and honest character I will analyse the use of language, plot
and character.

William Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet' in 1595. His inspiration
for this play came from a poem written by Arthur Brooke called 'The
tragical history of Romeus and Juliet'. Shakespeare followed the theme
of his poem closely, however, in Brookes version the chain of events
were spread out across two months, but Shakespeare whittled this down
to just 5 days to add to the dramatic theme of the play. Moreover,
Shakespeare used bawdy and explicit language in contrast to the
subtler use in Brooke's version, which would have excited an
Elizabethan audience. Also, in Shakespeare's version Juliet is 13 as
opposed to being 16 in Brooke's poem thus creating a younger girl who
is hastily exposed to love.

The language in 'Romeo and Juliet' is the most powerful aspect of the
play altogether. In the play, characters use it very dramatically by
cursing, vowing oaths and referring to fate. An example of this is
when Mercutio is dying and says 'a plague o both houses'. He says this
3 times before he dies. It means that his death will be a plague on
both the Montague and the Capulet houses. He is ready to say this
because he hates the fact that the feud has caused his death, but
Mercutio doesn't not realise that Romeo was acting in good nature, so
in his hastiness he blames his family for the ongoing feud, which
caused his death. Furthermore the play is littered with oxymorons,
puns and double meanings. For example, when Lady Capulet says 'I would
the fool be married to her grave' when referring to Juliet. Lady
Capulet means to say that Juliet will be dead before she marries
(because Juliet refuses to marry Paris) but, this is an obvious
example of dramatic irony because Juliet does die before she is
married in the minds of everyone but the few people who knew of her
marriage to Romeo. Oxymorons are present throughout the play most of
which are in Romeo's dialogue; when he becomes love-stricken or
hysterical his speech will contradict itself.

Shakespeare's plays were made to be unrealistic. The Elizabethan
audience that would have been watching his plays wanted to be
extremely entertained;...

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