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Romeo and Juliet - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date Rome and Juliet as a Rebuke of Youth and Passion “Romeo and Juliet” is often described as one of the most poignant and powerful love stories ever written in the English language. Its longstanding popularity, even four hundred years after it was written, demonstrate the power of the characters and the plot to move people emotionally; there are few works of literature that have demonstrated that kind of power over such a long period of time…
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Romeo and Juliet
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Download file to see previous pages Though there is certainly merit to this construction of the play, there are also many other interpretations. The theme of love and its consequences in this play are not isolated to romantic relationships – in fact, a close inspection of the text reveals that love functions in the same manner, and leads to many of the same results, as a wide variety of other powerful emotions, such as despair, anger or a desire for revenge. Upon carefully examining “Romeo and Juliet” it becomes apparent that love is not actually set on such a high stage after all. It, and all other powerful emotions are treated as powers beyond control of humanity, yet usually destructive: something that should be fought against rather than embraced. Shakespeare, through his construction of the character of Romeo, dialogue surrounding the nature of love, and construction of the consequences of love and other powerful emotions, actually creates a critique of powerful youthful emotions, which he portrays as almost entirely a destructive force. One thing that is immediately apparent in “Romeo and Juliet” is that love is an overwhelming force, something that can completely overtake a person and cause them to act in a way they usually would not. Shakespeare constructs the overwhelming, irresistible power of love through three devices, all contained in dialogue: the characterization of love as a force of nature, the construction of love as a supernatural or spiritual (but-areligious) force such as witchcraft, the idea that love is essentially religious in nature. The insight into these ideas comes universally from the dialogue of lovers themselves – this is how they characterize the force of love they are feeling, but sometimes also by the knowledgeable narrator. Romeo, for instance, calls Juliet “the sun,” (Shakespeare, 2.1.45), able to give light to the world, to “kill the moon” (2.1.46), and also declares that the sun is “all seeing” (1.2.92). Clearly Romeo finds Juliet, and his attraction to Juliet, like a force of nature; one could hardly resist the sun’s rays, and Romeo has no more chance of doing that than of being able to stop his attraction to Romeo. But love is not simply a force of nature – it is also something that is indeed supernatural, that operates in the world of spirits and mystery. Love at one point is referred to as “a charm” that that “bewitch[es]” the people who are involved in it (2.0.6). This connection to witchcraft elevates the power of love yet again, and coming as it does from the chorus (acting as a narrator), who can be trusted to speak more reasonably than the characters themselves, is even more believable. Finally, love is construed as a religious experience – which is an incredibly powerful way to put something in a time as religious as Shakespeare’s. Romeo’s insistence that wherever Juliet is becomes heaven (3.3) elevates romance to a religious experience – to the power of god. Love is thus the most overwhelming of powers, bringing together the force of nature, the force of supernatural, and the force of the divine into one truly irresistible package. Yet with all of this force, love is not actually shown to be a be a positive force, but rather a negative and almost entirely destructive one. Firstly, it is associated with a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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