The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

1125 Words5 Pages
Authors often use vivid language to represent actions, ideas and objects as imagery to highlight certain messages they are trying to convey. Readers of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet may well debate the effectiveness of or purpose for which the author uses death imagery. Shakespeare’s primary function of death imagery is to emphasize the theme of untimely and tragic deaths, specifically for the main characters. First, when Romeo is explaining his love to Friar Laurence, death imagery is used to explain his young age, which makes his death untimely. Furthermore, death imagery conveys the message of violent deaths when Romeo believes false information regarding Juliet’s death. Most importantly, the death of Juliet is described with the use of death imagery to show its untimeliness.
Emphasis on Romeo’s inexperience is displayed through the use of death imagery when he misunderstands Friar Laurence’s advice regarding true love. Although their families are sworn enemies, Romeo is drawn to Juliet at a Capulet party to which he is not invited. The two feel very strongly for one another and believe themselves in love. Instead of attempting to halt his feelings, Romeo goes to the Friar’s cell to ask if he will wed them. However, when he arrives, the Friar points out that Romeo was ‘in love’ with another woman, Rosaline, just the other day. As an attempt to understand this newfound love, Romeo says:
Thou chid'st me oft for loving Rosaline
FRIAR LAURENCE: For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.
ROMEO: And badest me bury love.
FRIAR LAURENCE: Not in a grave, to lay one in another out to have. (Shakespeare 2. 3. 81- 84)
Romeo is not very close to his father, and instead confides in Friar Laurence, who offers him advice. When Romeo was ‘in lov...

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... of untimely and tragic deaths for Romeo and Juliet. Initially, death imagery is used to portray Romeo’s inexperience, thus making his death untimely. In addition, to convey the message of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic and violent deaths, Shakespeare expertly applies death imagery. Above all, death imagery is used at its best to communicate the untimeliness of Juliet’s death. Many authors take great consideration when it comes to representing actions, ideas or objects with figurative language to make sure their imagery adds perspective to the story. To many readers, it may be hard to understand that developed imagery throughout a selection can essentially provide one with more knowledge regarding the story.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, Louis B. Wright, and Virginia A. LaMar. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. New ed. New York: Washington Square Press, 1959. Print.
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