Discuss the various perceptions of love in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Essay by nymphomaniacHigh School, 10th gradeA-, April 2004

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Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragedy told in two language styles, prose and verse. Death, fate, disorder are all minor components of this classic story centred on a dangerous love that reaches across the barriers of family and convention. Some perceptions of love in this play are dutiful, passionate, sexual and so forth. Throughout this essay I will be exploring the different perceptions of love and how Shakespeare's use of language and structure further emphasises each perception.

Sexual love is presented in the opening scene, and throughout the play additional references are made to it. We first encounter it through the coarse humour of the Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory, who brag about their 'attributes' and see women as nothing more than objects. Lust and hatred are the main emotions that dominate this first scene and are there to precede the true love that comes later. The Capulet servants gloat lecherously over how he will beat down the Montague

Men and abuse the women.

'...I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall...' -[i.i.16-18] Whatever the reason for the ancient feud, Shakespeare makes the point that the conflict has now become absurd and almost childish. The episode is comic and we laugh both at the absurdity of the situation and the stupidity of the grown men. Much of what the servants speak is bawdy or obscene ('...I will cut off their heads...'-[i.i.23]) and so it is written in prose, a medium more suited to comedy.

The nurse and Mercutio also make similar sexual innuendos throughout the story. Mercutio is often used as a contrast to Romeo in terms of character and wit. He thinks love is "drivelling" and has no patience with Romeo's infatuation for Rosaline. '...This drivelling love is like...