Themes of Love and Hate in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Themes of Love and Hate in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, one of the most famous plays of all time, is so

because of the combination of doomed love and troubled hate that

plights the destiny of the two "star-crosse'd lovers". Before Act 1

Scene 5, love has already been displayed in many forms. Romeo shows an

almost courtly love for Rosaline where he is to pursue her until he

can win her. In contrast to this the nurse and the servants give a

much more informal, bawdy presentation of love, perhaps this is

because it is the only type of love they have the experienced.

However, more likely it is used to emphasise the class differences

that existed at the time. The chivalrous love above was reserved only

for the higher levels of society. Throughout the story, a family love

is shown but is most apparent in times of joy such as the Capulet

party where Capulet calms Tybalt to save his party: "Content thee,

gentle coz, let him alone;" and in times of trouble such as when

Mercutio and Tybalt are killed and each family is quick to blame the


The main presentation of love climaxes in Act 1 Scene 5 with the

meeting of Romeo and Juliet and is maximised with the juxtaposition of

Tybalt and Romeo's hate for one another which creates the delicate

atmosphere that is bound to explode at any minute.

The prologue is vital to the feeling of inevitability that plagues

Romeo and Juliet, making it what it is. It acts as a chorus, like that

of an ancient Greek tragedy, informing the audience of the situation

that the two characters find themselves born into. The "ancient

grudge" which brings the two together is causing g...

... middle of paper ...

...g-bed." This shows the audience just how

quickly they have fallen in love but more importantly for the story,

foreshadows the end for them just as the prologue does before we know

anything about either Romeo or Juliet.

Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet contains the first meeting of two

lovers in the one of the most renowned tragedies ever written. Yet the

brilliance of it is through its simplicity. The complex, instinctive

and passionate love of Romeo and Juliet is a stark contrast to the

cold hate displayed by Tybalt in its many different forms. Coming

together they form a powerful base for an even more powerful

conclusion. Without it the play would never mean so much to people and

be as popular as it was in the 16th Century and still is today in the

21st century to a completely different, but still emoted audience.
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