Michele Dominique English Coursework

“There are many kinds of love in Romeo and Juliet.”Write about these different views of love which Shakespeare gives us.The story of Romeo and Juliet is known as the “greatest love story ever told.” I agree with this statement; however most people would say that this is an understatement, as they believe this particular Shakespeare play is only famous because of its only obvious recognisable love story- that of Romeo and Juliet’s.Although this is the main love story-line, there are plenty others such as the relationship between Juliet and the Nurse, or the love of Paris for Juliet, and even the perceptions of love we hear from Sampson and Gregory at the start of the play.Shakespeare is not only known for his dramatic and humorous plays; he is also widely recognised as being one of the greatest sonnet poets of all time.He, in fact, started the play of “Romeo and Juliet”, with a prologue which is actually a sonnet. The main distinguishing features of a sonnet are probably that they only contain 14 lines, and that the last words of the last 2 lines of the sonnet have to rhyme.The prologue is a sort of introduction to the play, Shakespeare uses it to provide the audience with a basic knowledge as to what the play is about.He also uses the opening scene to capture the audience. In his time, (Elizabethan), it was mostly lower-class people who went to see his plays, they were in general, crude and vulgar people. To gain their attention very quickly so that they did not lose interest, Shakespeare wrote the first scene with Sampson and Gregory; two men who talk about their views on love, they talk in a crude and coarse manner; for they do not see women as people but merely as objects.They use many sexual terms to get the attention of that particular Elizabethan audience,involved and interested very quickly and fairly easily.However, Shakespeare uses this function very effectively as it is also used to contrast the crude view of love with that of Romeo and Juliet’s.Sampson and Gregory talk about their view of love in terms of it being as mainly sexual. Sampson quotes right at the beginning- ” therefore women,being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall; therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.”In the same scene, we see Romeo and Benvolio talking to one another; here is another perception of love from Romeo; whereas Sampson and Gregory’s view of love is more realistic amongst young men of those times; Romeo’s is slightly different. He dwells in self-pity that his lover, Rosaline, does not return his feelings of love for him. He speaks in a depressed yet self-pitying tone of his unconditional love.”Why, such is love’s transgression. Grieves of mine own lie heavy in my breast.” “This love that thou hast shown, doth add more grief to too much of mine own.”He thinks he’s in love -“Out of her favour where I am in love.” He sulks because he feels sorry for himself as Rosaline is supposed to be a desirable yet supposedly unreachable character.The next love scene that we encounter is in Act 1, Scene 3; this is where Lady Capulet, Juliet and the Nurse talk about Paris- a man after Juliet’s heart. Lady Capulet talks to the Nurse of Juliet’s age; but the Nurse wanders off the subject by re-calling a memory she had of Juliet when she was younger. The Nurse is another character who uses bawdy humour to appeal to the audience.She tells- “For even the day before, she [Juliet] broke her brow; and then my husband…took up the child, “yea”, quoth he, “dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou will fall backwards when thou hast more wit…and the pretty wretch left crying and said “Ay”.This is another use of vulgar and crude language to please the audience; the Nurse’s view of love is similar to that of Sampson and Gregory’s, love is meant to be purely physical and sexual.Whereas the Nurse feels this way, Lady Capulet doesn’t believe in any sort of love; she thinks only of marrying her child without considering whether or not Juliet will love Paris. I imagine she was left to believe this as it had happened to her in her youth as she says. Perhaps this is why her marriage with Lord Capulet is not as successful as it seems to be.Mercutio’s point of love is similar to the 3 previous characters I mentioned,Sampson, Gregory, and the Nurse. They all share the same views on love; making it out to be something of pure fun without involving any sort of emotions or desire at all.”I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes, by her high forehead, and her scarlet lip, by her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh…” He portrays his views through humour, so in this case, he jokes about Rosaline having “quivering thighs”, therefore he also believes that love is mainly having a sexual relationship without commitment or deep attachment and feelings whatsoever.In Act 1, Scene 5, Romeo has his first sight of Juliet. Here, we can tell how easily, he falls in and out of love; he has already forgotten his unconditional love for Rosaline.When he sees Juliet, he is quickly absorbed by her beauty; “…did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Romeo is the sort of person who is too involved in looking for love as to satisfy his needs rather than actually falling in love with that special someone.Act 2, Scene 2, is the famous “balcony scene”, where we see the core of Romeo and Juliet’s mutual love for one another.When Juliet appears at the window, Romeo starts speaking in wonderful poetry language- ” See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!” and , “Love goes towards love, as schoolboys from their books, but love from love, toward school with heavy looks.”Act 2, Scene 6, is where Romeo and Juliet marry,however there are many ominous signs, such as when the Friar speaks “These violent delights have violent ends.”The next scene, Act 3, Scene 2; Juliet hears the news, from the Nurse, that her husband had been banished from Verona; and also that it was him, her dear beloved Romeo that had killed her cousin, Paris. She mourns for both, but it is obvious that she cares for Romeo than her cousin.In Scene 3, we see how much Romeo and Juliet care for each other; they both weep and mourn in thought of one another. Juliet sends the Nurse to give Romeo a special ring which he accepts and this symbol comforts him and he is consoled by the thought of Juliet’s action.In Scene 5, Romeo and Juliet have just spent a night together and are very reluctant to let go of one another the next morning. “Farewell, farewell, one kiss and I’ll descend!”[Romeo]. Juliet says-“Art thou gone so? Love, lord, ay, husband, friend! I must hear from thee every day of the hour…” Here, we can see clearly how they both are hopelessly in love with each other.This scene also contains Lord Capulet’s anger at Juliet’s reluctance to wed Paris. She is faced with a lot of pressure; and we can sympathize with her when her most trust worthiest friend- the Nurse; lets her down by agreeing with her parents that Juliet should marry Paris. The Nurse says- “I think it best that you should marry the county. O he’s such a lovely gentleman! Romeo is such a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam! Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye as Paris hath!”Juliet then says- “Speakest thou from thy heart?” and the Nurse replies- “And from my soul too..”This is where we know for sure that the Nurse has lost Juliet’s confidence and trust. She has now no one to turn to but the Friar.In Act 4, Scene 1, Juliet meets Paris for the first time; she is very polite when she speaks to him with a slight hint of coldness in her tone.In Act 5, Scene 1, Romeo is dwelling in self-pity once again; he awaits news from the messenger eagerly. His love for Juliet increases by the day, and he realises this; for as soon as he hears that she had died, he goes and buys poison for himself so that they may die together.Act 5, Scene 3, is where we see Romeo and Paris fight, Romeo slays Paris and he dies; soon afterwards Romeo discovers Juliet’s body and without further ado, takes the poison and dies.This story, as I said at the beginning, has many different kinds of love; but the main one still remains Romeo and Juliet’s, however as the Prince quotes at the end- “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.In conclusion, I would say that Shakespeare does portray many kinds of love in “Romeo and Juliet”.The statement “Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story ever told”, is both true and false in my opinion; it has been made the greatest love story ever told, because the play has various aspects of love, not just only one, although it is made the greatest as it carries so many.However, I also disagree because, whenever we hear that statement, it has only been said that, purely because, it has a tragic ending to it, where both “star-crossed lovers” die; and generations have passed it down to us with that specific attached label.