William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a love story, set in Verona in the 16th century. It tells of the tragic tale of two star crossed lovers. ‘Star crossed’ meaning that they are destined to be together by the stars and also meaning that there paths will cross in a unfortunate way, this is also to say that fate controls them, its not just the audience that are aware of this, the characters are also very much aware of this, Romeo and Juliet consistently see omens. At the beginning of the prologue Shakespeare emphasises the word civil:

’ Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.’

This is ironic as they often engage in civil wars and shed ‘civil blood’. In this play
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down with the Montagues”

This also shows that the townspeople are used to them fighting.

Shakespeare prepares for act 1 scene 5 by showing Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline (a very strong “crush” on her). On the guest list for the party, Rosaline is described as Capulet's “fair niece”, but she never appears in the play. Capulet's speech to Paris (in 1.2) suggests that Juliet has not been out of her house much (only, perhaps, to go to worship and confession at Friar Lawrence's cell). Maybe this is why Paris (a family friend) has noticed her, but Romeo has no idea who she is. Immediately before this scene, Romeo has spoken of his fear that some terrible

“consequence yet hanging in the stars” shall begin at “this night's revels” (Capulet's party).

When Romeo sees Juliet he speaks about her, using metaphor:

“She doth teach the torches to burn bright”.

This tells us that Juliet's beauty is much brighter than that of the torches - so she is very beautiful. She is so much brighter that she teaches the torches how to shine - a poetic exaggeration, since torches can't really be taught. It is important for Romeo to say this, as the audience cannot see Juliet's beauty directly - in Shakespeare's theatre a boy, perhaps seen at some distance, plays Juliet. But the metaphor also tells us that it is night, as Romeo can see the torches he compares her to.

Romeo is

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