The Representation of Love and Marriage in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

The Representation of Love and Marriage in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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The Representation of Love and Marriage in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

In this essay I am going to examine love and marriage and the way it
is presented in the play 'Romeo and Juliet'. William Shakespeare is
one of the most famous writers in British history. During
Shakespeare's time, attitudes to love and marriage were very different
to the ways we are used to today. Love is presented as an intense and
overwhelming force in the story and different forms of love are
presented. There is 'courtly love' and also romantic love.

Romeo and Juliet were both children from 'aristocratic' families.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Italy was divided into different
areas of land owned by different groups of people. All of these areas
were ruled by the 'Romeo and Juliet' families, the Montagues and the
Capulets. This was the recipe for intense rivalry and ill feelings
between the families.

All of this now meant that marriage was very important. It was less to
with actual love than pretty much anything else. It was mostly to do
with securing social advancement and protecting power. In order not to
make a lot of enemies, families would try to get their children to
marry other families' children. They would already be friends with
that family. This would strengthen the friendship between the two
families and secure their position in society. This means that there
is little room for romantic love and this play shows that Romeo and
Juliet's relationship is doomed to fail in a society such as this.
This is because the Montagues and the Capulets are sworn enemies.

The key scenes which show great relevance to love and marriage in
R...


... middle of paper ...


...himself.

Shakespeare also uses the Nurse as a dramatic device. Nurse never
seems to give Juliet a straight answer and always talks nonsense. Her
nonsense raises anxiety for Juliet and the reader/audience. For
example the nurse says to Juliet that Romeo is dead although he is
not. "Alack the day, he's gone, he's kill'd, he's dead!" although
later Nurse says "Tybalt is gone and Romeo banished." which proves
that Romeo is not dead.

Each of these techniques encourages the audience to share Romeo and
Juliet's experience of love as if at the same time as Romeo and Juliet
experience it. Because of all of the errors of judgement, the delays
and failures in communication, the Nurse's nonsense, the speed of play
etc. the audience is made to experience the same obstacles, the same
stops and starts as the tragic lovers do.

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