Shakespeare's Representation of Love and Hate in Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare's Representation of Love and Hate in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare's Representation of Love and Hate in Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare's representation of love and hate is an important theme
that runs throughout the play. Shakespeare's contrast of love and hate
when Romeo first lays eyes on Juliet, and hatred when Tybalt wants to
kill Romeo after realising that he has come to Capulet's mansion for
the party. Love and hate is the theme that I hope to deal with in this
essay and

One of the most important way that Shakespeare shows love in this
scene is when the sonnet is said by Romeo and Juliet, this is very
unusual and unique sonnet because it was normal for male's to express
their love in form of a sonnet but in this Juliet also expresses her
love for Romeo.

In this scene Romeo sees Juliet and forgets Rosaline entirely; Juliet
meets Romeo and falls just as deeply in love. The meeting of Romeo and
Juliet dominates the scene, and, with extraordinary language that
captures both the excitement and wonder that the two protagonists
feel, Shakespeare proves equal to the expectations he has set up by
delaying the meeting for an entire act.

The first conversation between Romeo and Juliet is an extended
Christian metaphor. Using this metaphor, Romeo ingeniously manages to
convince Juliet to let him kiss her. But the metaphor holds many
further functions. The religious overtones of the conversation clearly
implies that their love can be described only through the vocabulary
of religion, that pure association with God. In this way, their love
becomes associated with the purity and passion of the divine. But
there is another side to this association of personal love and
religion. In using religious language to describe their burgeoning
feelings for each other, Romeo and Juliet tiptoe on the edge of

Romeo compares Juliet to an image of a saint that should be worshiped,
a role that Juliet is willing to play. Whereas the Catholic church
held that the worship of saint's images was acceptable, the Anglican
church of Elizabethan times saw it as blasphemy, a kind of idol

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worship. Romeo's statements about Juliet border on the heretical.
Juliet commits an even more profound blasphemy in the next scene when
she calls Romeo the "god of her idolatry," effectively installing
Romeo in God's place in her personal religion (II.i.156). We have
discussed already how Romeo and Juliet's love seems always to be
opposed by the social structures of family, honor, and the civil
desire for order. Here it is also shown to have some conflict, at
least theologically, with religion.

When Romeo and Juliet meet they speak just fourteen lines before their
first kiss. These fourteen lines make up a shared sonnet, with a rhyme
scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. A sonnet is a perfect, idealized poetic form
often used to write about love. Encapsulating the moment of origin of
Romeo and Juliet's love within a sonnet therefore creates a perfect
match between literary content and formal style. The use of the
sonnet, however, also serves a second, darker purpose. The play's
Prologue also is a single sonnet of the same rhyme scheme as Romeo and
Juliet's shared sonnet. If you remember, the Prologue sonnet
introduces the play, and, through its description of Romeo and
Juliet's eventual death, also helps to create the sense of fate that
permeates Romeo and Juliet. The shared sonnet between Romeo and Juliet
therefore creates a formal link between their love and their destiny.
With a single sonnet, Shakespeare finds a means of expressing perfect
love and linking it to a tragic fate.

That fate begins to assert itself in the instant when Romeo and Juliet
first meet: Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice when Romeo first exclaims
at Juliet's beauty. Capulet, acting cautiously, stops Tybalt from
taking immediate action, but Tybalt's rage is set, creating the
circumstances that will eventually banish Romeo from Verona. In the
meeting between Romeo and Juliet lie the seeds of their shared

The first conversation between Romeo and Juliet also provides a
glimpse of the roles that each will play in their relationship. In
this scene, Romeo is clearly the aggressor. He uses all the skill at
his disposal to win over a struck, but timid, Juliet. Note that Juliet
does not move during their first kiss; she simply lets Romeo kiss her.
She is still a young girl, and though already in her dialogue with
Romeo has proved herself intelligent, she is not ready to throw
herself into action. But Juliet is the aggressor in the second kiss.
It is her logic that forces Romeo to kiss her again and take back the
sin he has placed upon her lips. In a single conversation, Juliet
transforms from a proper, timid young girl to one more mature, who
understands what she desires and is quick-witted enough to procure it.
Juliet's subsequent comment to Romeo, "You kiss by th' book," can be
taken in two ways (I.v.107). First, it can be seen as emphasizing
Juliet's lack of experience.

Many productions of Romeo and Juliet have Juliet say this line with a
degree of wonder, so that the words mean "you are an incredible
kisser, Romeo." But it is possible to see a bit of wry observation in
this line. Juliet's comment that Romeo kisses by the book is akin to
noting that he kisses as if he has learned how to kiss from a manual
and followed those instructions exactly. In other words, he is
proficient, but unoriginal (note that Romeo's love for Rosaline is
described in exactly these terms, as learned from reading books of
romantic poetry). Juliet is clearly smitten with Romeo, but it is
possible to see her as the more incisive of the two, and as nudging
Romeo to a more genuine level of love through her observation of his
tendency to get caught up in the forms of love rather than love

Romeo compares Juliet to, "a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear" (1.5.43)
when he first sees her. This play on the comparison of dark and light
shows up frequently in subsequent scenes. It is a central part of
their love that important love scenes take place in the dark, away
from the disorder of the day. Thus Romeo loves Juliet at night, but
kills Tybalt during the day. It especially shows up in the first act
in the way Romeo shuts out the daylight while he is pining for

In the fifth scene the lover's share a sonnet which uses imagery of
saints and pilgrims. This relates to the fact that Romeo means Pilgrim
in Italian. It is also a sacriligeous sonnet, for Juliet becomes a
saint to be kissed and Romeo a holy traveler.

The foreshadowing so common in all of Shakespeare's plays comes from
Juliet near the end of the first act. She states, "If he be married, /
My grave is like to be my wedding bed." (1.5.132). This will be
related over and over again, from her Nurse and later even from Lady

One of the remarkable aspects of the play is the transformation of
both Romeo and Juliet after they fall in love. Juliet first comes
across as a young, innocent girl who obeys her parents' commands.
However, by the last scene she is devious and highly focused. Thus,
she asks her nurse about three separate men at the party, saving Romeo
for last so as not to arouse suspicion.

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you. . . .
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomi
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep.

Mercutio's famous Queen Mab speech is important for the stunning
quality of its poetry and for what it reveals about Mercutio's
character, but it also has some interesting thematic implications
(I.iv.53-59). Mercutio is trying to convince Romeo to set aside his
lovesick melancholy over Rosaline and come along to the Capulet feast.
When Romeo says that he is depressed because of a dream, Mercutio
launches on a lengthy, playful description of Queen Mab, the fairy who
supposedly brings dreams to sleeping humans. The main point of the
passage is that the dreams Queen Mab brings are directly related to
the person who dreams them-lovers dream of love, soldiers of war, etc.
But in the process of making this rather prosaic point Mercutio falls
into a sort of wild bitterness in which he seems to see dreams as
destructive and delusional.
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