Romeo and Juliet - Compare and Contrast Essay

This document is an essay about the characters attitudes to love in Romeo and Juliet.

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Compare + Contrast
The characters attitudes to love
Throughout the play "Romeo and Juliet" from William Shakespeare, the characters have
different attitudes to love, meaning that they have their own way of seeing love. These similarities and
differences can be seen particularly between characters such as Romeo, Juliet, Paris, the Capulets
and the Montagues.
Such similarities are present between the two main characters: Romeo and Juliet. These two
lovers share a passionate love, a love which is reciprocated by the other. This can be seen in quotes
such as "Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name ­
or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet" and "Romeo: It is the east, and
Juliet is the sun". Additionally, they fell in love with each other at first sight, during the Capulet's ball, as
it is shown in Act 1, Scene 5.
Despite the love shared by the two main characters, the love between Paris and Juliet is rather
different. First of all, their "love" was arranged as, particularly in Juliet's case, she was forced to marry
Paris. Additionally, Paris did love Juliet (although not as passionately as Romeo) as he shows in Act
5, Scene 3 when he says "Paris: Open the tomb. Lay me with Juliet", which shows that his last wish
was to die with her. Still, his love was not reciprocated by Juliet as she shows herself displeased with
the idea of marrying Paris: "Juliet: Now, by Saint Peter's Church, and Peter too, he shall not make me
there a joyful bride! (...) I will not marry yet. And when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know I
hate, rather than Paris."
Also, between the two families, Capulet and Montague, there are major differences regarding
their attitudes to love. Focusing on Lady Capulet and Lady Montague, these two are the figures of a
selfish mother and of a devoted mother, respectively. Lady Capulet never cared much about her
daughter, as Juliet was raised by the Nurse and it was to her that she confided her secrets and asked
for help (the Nurse was the one that helped Juliet marry Romeo). Additionally, when her daughter
asked her for help, she refused to defend her: "Lady Capulet: Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word.
Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee." Despite the character of Juliet's mother, Lady Montague
was much more of a motherly figure as, in Act 1 Scene 1, she was worried about Romeo and mainly
because in Act 3, Scene 5, Montague reveals that Romeo's mother had died of grief do to the
banishment of her son, showing that she loved him immensely.
Lastly, Capulet wasn't very different from his wife as, for both of them, the money and the social
position were much more important than love. This can be shown in the play when they forced Juliet to
marry Paris as he was a count and a relative of the Prince (meaning that he was certainly rich)
regardless of their daughter's feelings.
Overall, in this play there are different types of love: passionate love, family love...Still, not all
the characters feel the same way about love, but it was love that caused the death of Romeo, Juliet,
Paris and Lady Montague...

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