Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

4777 Words20 Pages
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare What different types of love are represented in the play, and how is Shakespeare and drawing on historical, social and cultural features of Medieval and Elizabethan England in the ways that he represents these types of love? The theme of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is love. The main love in the play is between Romeo and Juliet who belong to families that are feuding. There are many different types of love in the play including unrequited love, love in friendship, parental love and tragic love. At the beginning of the play the most obvious love is unrequited love. This is Romeo's unreturned infatuation for Rosaline. He is suffering from depression and is cutting himself off from friends and family. Benvolio records: "So early walking did I see your son /towards him I made, but he was ware of me, / and stole into the covert of the wood" (Act 1 scene 1) and Romeo's father agrees that Romeo is reclusive: "Away from light steals home my heavy son, / shuts up his windows locks fair daylight out" (Act 1 scene 1). When he makes Romeo behave like this Shakespeare is using a popular convention where love was thought to be an illness or a sudden attack of sickness. In the middle Ages knights were meant to pine for the love of a lady they beyond their reach and this is the idea that Chaucer uses in the knights tale. There are two knights called Palamon and Archita in prison. Through the bars of their prison cell they can see a Rose garden and one day Palamon sees a lady doing her embroidery in the Rose garden. Her name is Emilia. Palamon reacts by looking ill: "As though he had been stab... ... middle of paper ... ...ne 1 Tybalt kills Romeo's friend, mercutio because he, Benvolio and Romeo attended the Capulet family party in Act 1 scene 5. Mercutio is not even a member of the Montague family but is happy to fight for their honour. In a revenge attack Romeo kills Tybalt. Benvolio says: "There lies that Tybalt" (Act 3 scene 1). It is all because of pride that these tragic events occur and the majority of the young people die because of their love for family honour either directly like Mercutio or Tybalt or indirectly like Romeo and Juliet. There are many different forms of love presented in the play, and in the ways he represents the types of love, Shakespeare is drawing on the social culture of the time in which he lived, and the ideas and themes of popular art, poetry and literature in Medieval and Elizabethan England.
Open Document