AQA ENG LIT: How does Shakespeare present love in Act II Scene II? ESSAY

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Reianna Shakil 11FEnglish Literature8/12/11
How does Shakespeare present love in Act II Scene II?
`Romeo and Juliet' is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is known as one of the famous
love stories of all time. The play was set in Verona during the 16th century. In Romeo and
Juliet, there are many different views of love shown. There is romantic love, spiritual love,
unrequited love, true love, sexual love and love at first sight. Within this play, there are
various references to the way in which love is actually presented, such as courtly love,
limerence, chivalry, night imagery and celestial imagery. The adulation and the selflessness of
Romeo and Juliet's love - their willingness to die for each other, are in deep contrast to the
hate between the Capulet's and the Montague's.
The first form of love that I will draw attention to is that of Courtly love. This is a way by
which affection is shown whilst maintaining the values of etiquette withheld during the
period of the late 16th century, whereby the play was written. When meeting each other for
the first time in person, the pair of "star cross'd lovers" communicate through the use of
metaphor. When they converse at the party, Romeo says, "The gentle sin is this... a tender
kiss" whilst Juliet responds by saying "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers sake."
Through the use of metaphors of saints and sins, Romeo was able to test Juliet's feelings
for him in an alleviating way whilst relating to the holy subject of faith; although on the other
hand, his insistence of Courtly love codes to frighten Juliet followed by her attempt to
change the subject when Romeo says beforehand, "Than death prorogued, wanting of thy
love. This was a common form of verbal etiquette in the time period. This verbal mannerism
is sustained throughout their entire relationship until their fateful doom. An example of
where courtly love is used in verbal communication in Act II Scene II is where Juliet states,
"Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny what I have spoke". Here, she asserts that she
would "gladly" observe the rules of "form", but she is concerned that this elaborate
courtship may "prove false" or in other words, result in a negative outcome. Adding to this,
this is an underlying example of dramatic irony because the audience are aware of the fact
that the pair will die as foretold in the Prologue ­ "a pair of star-cross'd lover take their
life...", although the characters themselves are unaware of the reality of this state of affairs.
The use of chivalric language is no stranger to the text. The most familiar aspect of chivalry is
duties to women. It is used in Act II Scene II is when Romeo says, "With love's light wings
did I o'er-perch these walls... cannot hold love out" ­ here, Romeo suggests that Juliet's
worth as a lady and the quality of their love has made him physically strong enough to pass
the `barrier' of her courtyard.
Limerence is a term to describe the idea of an obsession with being in love, a form of
infatuated passionate love. Romeo exhibits this when he says, "Out of her favour, where I
am in love." This is mildly frequent with relation to the referral to Rosaline throughout the
early part of the play in comparison to the lustful love for Rosaline and the pure true love for
Juliet.

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Reianna Shakil 11FEnglish Literature8/12/11
One of the play's themes associated with love is the contrast between light and dark, often
in terms of night/day imagery. In terms of language and speech, `light' is not always positive
whilst `dark' is not always negative; they intertwine with each other. Shakespeare begins the
presentation of `night' as being a romantic space for lovers.…read more

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