Love and Hate in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay examples

Love and Hate in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay examples

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Analyze the Portrayal of Love and Hate in ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The emotions of love and hate are at the forefront of the theme in this play by William Shakespeare. The Oxford Standard English Dictionary defines ‘love’ as ‘to have strong feelings of affection for another adult and be romantically and sexually attracted to them, or to feel great affection for a friend or person in your family’ and defines ‘hate’ as ‘a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action dislike intensely, to feel antipathy or aversion towards someone or something’. However, words cannot portray such wide and powerful emotions. Love and hate include elements of life, passion, long-term bonding and dislike, disgust and loathing respectively. It is because Shakespeare incorporates each of these elements into the play that Romeo and Juliet is the ultimate story of love and hate.

The feud that exists between the two houses is demonstrated to the audience in the very first scene and this sets the tone for the rest of the play. As you know, the first impressions of the characters are extremely important so the quarrels and the duel prepare the audience for what is to come. We also learn that the feud isn’t just between the heads of the two household, but ‘The quarrel is between our masters and us their men’ (I.i.17). Only the disgust and contempt that each house shows for the other on this level can be regarded as true hate. The deep feelings of hate that are demonstrated here show that the characters are serious in what they say, and this helps to add a serious note to their joking and mocking of each other, which in turn adds credibility to their proposed actions.
The first impression of Tybalt is one of evil as he enters during a fight which associa...


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...rs a resemblance to the works on which it is based, it is also quite similar in plot, theme, and dramatic ending to the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. Shakespeare was well aware of this similarity, he includes a reference to Thisbe in Romeo and Juliet and one can look at the play-within-a-play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a distortion of the story that Shakespeare tells in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in full knowledge that the story he was telling was old, clichéd, and an easy target for parody. In writing Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare unreservedly set himself the task of telling a love story despite the considerable forces he knew were stacked against its success. Through the incomparable intensity of his language Shakespeare succeeded in this effort, writing a play that is universally accepted in Western culture as the ultimate love story.

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