Presentation of Love in Romeo and Juliet

1554 Words7 Pages
‘My only love sprung from my only hate!’ Love is central to ‘Romeo and Juliet’; explore the presentation of love throughout the play. Although ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a tragedy, the theme of love is prevalent throughout the play. It is presented through various forms; Petrarchan, Familial and ‘death mark’d’ to name but a few. Through the use of dramatic language Shakespeare challenges the audience’s perception of love using structural juxtaposition and contrast of ‘loving hate’. Furthermore, the personification and contrast of both love and death, ‘lean abhorred monster’, throughout the play, adds to the overall dramatic effect by giving life to abstract nouns, as well as foreshadowing the imminent tragedy. The most predominant form of love in the First Act is Romeo’s love for Rosaline; which is not only unrequited but aesthetic ‘she is rich in beauty’. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is expressed through melodramatic speeches and oxymorons ‘bright smoke’, which alludes to his confusion and inner conflict. Despite Romeo’s declaration of love for Rosaline, it seems that his true purpose is to that ‘hit’ her ‘with Cupid’s arrow’ or ‘ope her lap to saint seducing gold’. The use of ‘hit’, an active verb, implies that he is attempting to force his obsession on her. Subconsciously Romeo understands that his feelings for Rosaline are not true ‘I, that feel no love in this’ and expresses it through personifying love as ‘tyrannous and rough’ furthering the physical imagery. Romeo’s love for Rosaline is not only the only example of unrequited love in the play. Although seemingly more genuine than Romeo’s love for the ‘fair Rosaline’ it is nonetheless unreciprocated, as is expressed by Juliet in Act 4 Scene 1, ‘o bid me leap, rather than marry Paris’. However, Paris genuinely cares about Juliet, he is sensitive towards her feelings ‘these times of woe afford no time to
Open Document