Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, is a play about two young star crossed lovers, whose love was destined for doom from the beginning due to the hatred between the two families, Montagues and Capulets. The themes of love and hate are very important in the play as they drive the plot. Set in fair Verona, Italy, Shakespeare uses figurative language, symbolism and motif, dramatic irony and characterisation to show the key themes these key themes of love and hatred.
Shakespeare explores the themes of love and hatred through the use of figurative language such as ‘But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief That thou her maid art far more fair than she. Be not her maid, since she is envious. Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.’ (2.2.2-9). This quote shows Romeo talking about Juliet referring to her as the sun, he does not realise Juliet can hear him, until she shows herself. He is talking about the sun in a positive manner, meaning he also considers Juliet in a positive manner.
Lightness and darkness is arguably the most significant symbol in Romeo and Juliet. Innocent, likable characters like Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Benvolio, are often seen during the daylight, likewise, characters who are considered ‘evil’ or ‘unlikable’ such as Lord Capulet and Paris, are usually seen only at night. Another symbol in Romeo and Juliet is the poison, this shows how far Romeo will go for love, and is backed up by this quote ‘Here’s to my love! [Drinks poison] O true apothecary, Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.’ (5.3.119-120). Motif is used by way of the repeating the symbol of nighttime, the evening hours consist of all the significant moments for the young lovers; they meet at night, they confess their love at night, they get married at night and finally they commit suicide at night. Nighttime represents a time when a person can relax and calm down. The same hold true for our title characters; they have a feeling of untouchable and fearless at night that does not seen in the day; this is especially true for Romeo.
Dramatic irony is displayed throughout the play, for example in act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, dramatic irony is shown when Romeo tries to console Juliet and tell her that their love is in no danger, “Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet, And I am proof against their enmity” (2.2.71-73). However, because of the Prologue, the audience already know’ that the young lovers are doomed. There is more dramatic irony in act 2 scene 3 when Friar Lawrence notices Romeo has not been to bed, he states, ‘God pardon sin! Wast thou with Rosaline?’ (2.3.40). Here the audience knows that he is over Rosaline but the Friar does not.
Romeo is characterized as impulsive ……. Juliet is characterized as ……..The tragedy story of Romeo and Juliet displays the various feelings of love and hate through literacy devices such as figurative language, symbolism and motif, dramatic irony and characterisation. The two’s love was doomed before it even started.
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