Romeo and Juliet

In the poems 'First Love' by John Clare, 'How do I Love Thee' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and 'Remember' by Christina Rossetti and in Shakespeare's play, 'Romeo and Juliet', the feelings of love and loss are portrayed through the speakers' voices. At first glance the feelings may seem emotionally convincing however they are affected by the context in which they are set:  patriarchal societies, dominated by religion where society's conventions of love are suppressed by the culture of the time. Inevitably the convincing nature of the voices is open to interpretation depending upon the context of reception.

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  • Created on: 03-02-14 17:12

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In the play Romeo and Juliet the character Romeo expresses his love towards Rosaline in a way that is synonymous of infatuation and superficial love. 'O she is rich in beauty, only poor, That when she dies, with her beauty dies her store.' Romeo emphasizes on Rosaline's beauty above all; showing that he believes that her beauty is her redeeming quality. Romeo appears to be concerned with the inevitable prospect of Rosaline's death, however unconventionally Romeos concern lies with the loss of her beauty rather than the loss of the relationship between them. This is because he will not have had an opportunity to extend that beauty's life by procreating with her, this shows that there is bitterness in what Romeo is saying. Similarly in the poem first love Clare expresses his feelings of love 'And then blood rushed to my face And took my sight away' The blood rushing to someones face is usually temporary however the enjambment suggests that his feelings are continuous. The verb "took" conveys that it was taken without consent this indicates that he has become blind to love and his emotions have become warped, an alternative interpretation is that his feelings are cliche. Both texts display infatuation rather than genuine love however they do so in different ways, Clare clearly depicts the negative implications of infatuation, while Romeo exemplifies the feelings of being infatuated with somebody. The poem is more emotionally convincing to a modern audience, because behind the controlled form and structure there is underlying passion showing that Clare is revealing his true feelings however the context of production Romeo's voice may seem more convincingly emotional because of his use of hyperbole when describing Rosaline's beauty, hyperbolic language was acceptable at that time because it would have been normal to maintain courtly love in that way, and it was acceptable for a young man at that time to fall in love based on looks. A modern audience may see that Romeo's voice is not emotionally convincing as he presents very childish and superficial views of love this may be because he is too young and immature to understand what love really is.

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Third Para

In the play Romeo and Juliet the character Romeo expresses his love towards Rosaline in a way that is synonymous of infatuation and superficial love. 'O she is rich in beauty, only poor, That when she dies, with her beauty dies her store.' Romeo emphasizes on Rosaline's beauty above all; showing that he believes that her beauty is her redeeming quality. Romeo appears to be concerned with the inevitable prospect of Rosaline's death, however unconventionally Romeos concern lies with the loss of her beauty rather than the loss of the relationship between them. This is because he will not have had an opportunity to extend that beauty's life by procreating with her, this shows that there is bitterness in what Romeo is saying. Similarly in the poem first love Clare expresses his feelings of love 'And then blood rushed to my face And took my sight away' The blood rushing to someones face is usually temporary however the enjambment suggests that his feelings are continuous. The verb "took" conveys that it was taken without consent this indicates that he has become blind to love and his emotions have become warped, an alternative interpretation is that his feelings are cliche. Both texts display infatuation rather than genuine love however they do so in different ways, Clare clearly depicts the negative implications of infatuation, while Romeo exemplifies the feelings of being infatuated with somebody. The poem is more emotionally convincing to a modern audience, because behind the controlled form and structure there is underlying passion showing that Clare is revealing his true feelings however the context of production Romeo's voice may seem more convincingly emotional because of his use of hyperbole when describing Rosaline's beauty, hyperbolic language was acceptable at that time because it would have been normal to maintain courtly love in that way, and it was acceptable for a young man at that time to fall in love based on looks. A modern audience may see that Romeo's voice is not emotionally convincing as he presents very childish and superficial views of love this may be because he is too young and immature to understand what love really is.

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Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Christina Rosetti's poem 'Remember' both express the feelings concerned with the engagement of death and loss. From the very beginning of the play the prologue foreshadowed the inevitability of their death and has acclimatized the audience to their suicide. As Romeo makes journeys to Juliet's tomb, he shows understanding that their separation is fated.  'And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars from this world-wearied flesh' the idea that their flesh has been wearied by the world that they live in shows that Romeo wants their love to transcend the situation that is around them (their family feud) however Romeo's rash decision to take his own life highlights his immaturity to fully comprehend the effect of his suicide. However even within the turbulent situation Romeo still acknowledges Juliet's beauty 'Death that hath sucked the honey of they breath hath had no power yet upon thy beauty' this suggests that Romeo loves Juliet because of her beauty which is superficial however an alternative interpretation is that if Romeo is prepared to take his life for Juliet he is genuinely in love with her and wants to be with her eternally any way that he can.

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 In the poem Remember Rossetti presents similar feelings 'Yet if you should forget for a while and afterwards remember, do not grieve' the word 'yet' signifies a volta within the poem where she realizes that her previous tone was inappropriate and she accepts the situation. Similarly Romeo does the same after killing Paris in the tomb he accepts the situation and begins to ask for forgiveness from both Paris and Tybalt. Both the play and poem are emotionally convincing as there is sincerity in both voices as they realize and accept the situation they are in and begin to think less about themselves but about their love ones however Rossetti accepts the situation for her lover to be happy where as Romeo accepts his situation because he would rather be without life than to be without Juliet. A modern audience may see Romeos suicide as a selfish bid to get away from all the trouble that he has caused so far. However for the context of production, Elizabethan England  a double suicide must have been daunting because religion dominated laws and culture during the Elizabethan period and suicide is forbidden in religion, so Romeos suicide may have consolidated the genuine love that Romeo has for Juliet.

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Conclusion

In conclusion it is clear that the convincing nature of the speaker’s voice is dependent on the context of reception; whether the audience is contemporary or modern.  This affects how the different audiences will respond as social and cultural factors affect the reception. However Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was written as a dramatic piece, and therefore its main purpose was to entertain a varied audience whereas the poems were mostly written for personal reasons and without a wide audience in mind. The dramatic nature of the play allows for license as to the convincing nature of the voice in order for the central theme (love overcoming all obstacles, even death) to be conveyed; however the poems are a direct outpouring of personal emotion and are therefore perhaps more convincingly emotional.  Despite these considerations there is no doubting their effectiveness, as all have stood the test of time and have the facility to reflect  the emotions of their audience.

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