William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

By close reference to any two scenes, discuss Shakespeare's dramatic

presentation of contrasting attitudes to love in Romeo and Juliet. You

should comment on the significance of aspects such as:

* Structure and context;

* Language and imagery;

* Audience response, bearing in mind and commenting on the social

and cultural background of the play.

Romeo and Juliet has remained a very popular play ever since 1595 when

it was first performed. One of the reasons for the play's lasting

recognition is that one of its main focuses is on love. We are

presented with many different versions of love throughout the play, of

which there are at least four; courtly love, sexual love, dutiful love

and true love. To demonstrate contrast between different attitudes to

love, I am going to compare Romeo's unrequited 'love' to Rosaline in

act 1 scene 1 with Romeo and Juliet's true and inevitable love at

their wedding in act 2 scene 6.

When Romeo first believes himself to be in love with Rosaline, his

idea of love seems to be very conventional. We can see this from the

language he uses. Romeo uses oxymoron's to describe the way he is

feeling such as 'o brawling love, o loving hate' (line 175). This

technique was very popular at the time of Shakespeare and it brought

together ideas that were in fact complete opposites; in this case love

and hate. This could be to portray Romeo's confusion about his 'love'

for Rosaline but it could also be that Romeo is deliberately trying to

sound confused in order to conform to how he thinks love should be,

suggesting that in fact he does not truly love Rosaline.

This of course is a stark contrast to the language used in the second

scene. Romeo's language is still very romantic ('it is enough I may

but call her mine.' Line 8), but oxymorons are not used here in the

sense of bringing together love and hate.
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