Romeo and Juliet Themes

  • Created by: lottievkc
  • Created on: 19-12-18 14:09
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  • Romeo and Juliet Themes
    • Death
      • even before play shifts in tone after Mercutio's death, Shakespeare makes references to death being Juliet's bridegroom.
      • Threat of violence in the first acts manifest themselves in the later half of the play, when key characters die and the lovers approach their terrible end
      • Several ways  characters consider death:
        • - Romeo attempts suicide as an act of cowardice, but when he seeks out the apothecary it is a sign of strength and solidarity.
      • Chorus establishes the story's tragic end at the beginning of the play, which colours the audience's experience from the start: youthful, innocent love that will end in tragedy.
      • Structure of play poses tragedy from the beginning  which makes R&J's love even more heartbreaking  because the audience is aware of their impending deaths.
      • Journey of play is cycle from love to death - this is what makes Romeo and Juliet so lasting and powerful.
    • Love
      • Young, irrational and passionate
      • Shakespeare suggests that kind of love R&J feel leads them to enact a selfish isolation from the world around them.
      • Youthful lust is one of many reasons why their relationship grows so intense so quickly
      • Throughout the play, Shakespeare only describes R&J's love as a short-term burst of youthful passion.
      • Shakespeare is more interested in exploring sparks of infatuation than long-term commitment.
      • R&J deliberately avoids (eschew) mentioning their commitments to anyone else, choosing to act selflessly towards one another.
    • Age
      • Shakespeare establishes and ideological divide that separates youths from adults.
      • Characters in play can all be categorised as either young, passionate characters VS older, more functional adults.
      • Youthful characters are almost exclusively defined by their energy and impulsive actions - Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt.
      • Older characters all view the world in terms of politics and expediency.
      • Capulet and Montague patriarchs are feisty competitors: victory as a concept, ignoring potential emotional toll of feud.
      • Friar ostensibly represents R&J's interests and sees their union in terms of its political outcome. While young lovers are only concerned with satisfying their hearts.
      • Shakespeare doesn't posit a moral to the divide between young and and old, appears throughout the play, suggesting that the cynicism that comes with age.
    • Identity
      • R&J suggest that individuals are often hamstrung by the identities forced upon them from the outside.
      • This theme is manifested in Juliet's balcony soliloquy in which she asks.
      • A central obstacle of the play is that R&J are separated by a feud based on their family names.
      • Their love has little to do with given identities. Their real  identities mean nothing to the world around them so they can only show each other their true identities.
      • Act of rejection also means R&J must ignore the world outside their comfort zone. As a result the violent forces crash down upon them.
      • Strong sense of identity can be a good thing in life, but in the play it only forces separation.
      • R&J die because of the labels the outside world has given them, not because of who they are.
    • Revenge
      • R&J suggests that the desire for revenge is a natural and devastating human quality.
      • After Act 3 most of the bad events are initiated by revenge: Tybalt killing Mercutio and then Romeo killing Tybalt in revenge.
      • Romeo's desire for revenge is so overpowering that he doesn't pause to think about how his attack on Tybalt will affect him and his wife.
      • A cause of revenge is the family feud however when R&J die it no longer matters.
      • Shakespeare represents revenge mainly as a senseless action that always causes more harm than good.
    • Marriage
      • Shakespeare doesn't paint an attractive picture of marriage. Only positive portrayal of marriage can only be done in private.
      • Shakespeare seems to suggest marriage that is based on pure love doesn't belong in a world that abuses sacred union.
      • Lord Capulet sees Juliet as his object and believes that marriage to Paris will tame her rebellion. Even Friar sees marriage  as political.
      • Friar marries R&J to gain the political power and an attempt to end the feud between the 2 families.
    • Gender
      • Shakespeare alters gender expectations but reminds audience that the defined roles do still exist.
      • The 2 protagonists gender roles have been reversed, shows how different their love is.
      • Obvious differentiation between men and women: men are still considered better.




good resource :) 

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