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The Various Perceptions of Love in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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The Various Perceptions of Love in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is about two lovers who get caught up in a feud

between their separate families, the Montagues and the Capulets, and

their fight to let love conquer all.

The play was written by one of the best English writers, William

Shakespeare in about 1595. During the Elizabethan period, women were

seen as objects which could be passed from father to respectable

suitors for marriage. This aspect of life is a major part to the play.

Although the play is known for its love story, it is as much about

love as it is about hate between the two rival families. Therefore

there are many contrasts within the play, for instance Romeo uses

oxymorons which Juliet echoes later,

' Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.' Act 1 scene 1.

Within the play there are many different characters who have different

perceptions of love, which is what I will be analysing in this essay.

The first reference to love in the play occurs in the first scene when

the audience meet Sampson and Gregory who perceive woman in a crude,

vulgar and misogynistic way.

'Tis true and therefore woman being the weaker vessel are ever thrust

to the wall.' Act 1 scene 1

This shows their characters to have no respect for woman and the

audience can presume that they have never experienced true love, which

is a major contrast to Romeo and Juliet's love.

Another character who is extremely bawdy is the nurse,

'Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wilt.' Act 1 scene 3.

Although we learn that she is widowed, her marriage was based around

sex and not around love, therefore the n...

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... is.

When she says, 'Ay sir, but she will none, she gives you thanks. I

would the fool were married to her grave.' I would make the actress

look upon Juliet with disgust and would have her standing while Juliet

sits, so that the hierarchy is known. Throughout the scene, I would

direct both actresses not to touch each other or show any other

emotional contact. When Lady Capulet talks of how distressed Juliet

and herself are about Tybalts death I would place Juliet in her bed

with her mother sitting, looking uncomfortable on the end of the bed.

As you can see, Shakespeare brought many different contrasts of love

into the play and it would be very important for the audience to see

these distinctions.

In the above I have explained how I would stage two contrasting scenes

in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
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