Discuss love and marriage in Romeo and Juliet

Essay by jaredesselA+, March 2002

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Love and marriage are key themes that run throughout ?Romeo and Juliet?. The opinions of these two topics differ from each character. Shakespeare based ?Romeo and Juliet? on an earlier poem by Arthur Brooke, ?Romeus and Juliet?. The opinions of the authors about the subjects of love and marriage differ and it is shown in their writing. Brooke condemned the conduct of Romeo and Juliet in a prose address at the beginning of his book, describing them as:

?A couple of unfortunate lovers, thralling themselves to unhonest desire, neglecting the authority and advise of parents?attempting all adventures of peril for the attaining of their wished lust (and) abusing the honourable name of marriage??

On the other hand Shakespeare took a more gentle approach and was sympathetic to the lover?s plight as by the end of the play we only feel sorry for the lovers whom had to battle against their obstructive families.

In this play it seems as if love is doomed from the start by the society full of hate in Verona. The whole play could have been based on the oxymoron ?loving hate?, as love will always win over hate.

From the very beginning of the play love is condemned and in the prologue all references to love are described with death:

?A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life? Act1 sc1 8

?The fearful passage of death-marked love? Act1 sc1 9.

There are always interruptions in the love scenes because hate is the backdrop. The lovers? whole situation is fraught with danger. This is illustrated both in the Balcony scene (Act2 sc2) and after the lovers have consummated the marriage (Act3 sc5). During the balcony scene there is always the fear that Romeo may be caught by one of Capulet?s guards...