How Does Shakespeare Portray Love in Romeo and Juliet?

Essay by eunHigh School, 11th grade February 2004

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In 'Romeo and Juliet', Shakespeare portrays different aspects and types of love in many ways. The obvious love is the fateful love between Romeo and Juliet although the play also displays platonic love, maternal love and aspects of adolescent love.

The first kind of love shown in the play is teenage love through Romeo. Montague tells us that "Many a morning hath he (Romeo) been seen... adding to the clouds more clouds with his deep sighs." Romeo is often seen sighing showing that he is either depressed or in love. Romeo is both. He says he is "out of her favour where I am in love". He is "in love" with Rosaline but she has sworn herself to a life of chastity and does not return Romeo's love. Shakespeare mocks Romeo's infatuation with the language he uses to show Romeo's love. To Romeo love is a "choking gall", a poison.

Love is the end of Romeo's life, this is not the language of love, this is the language of infatuation and Shakespeare exaggerates Romeo's infatuation with his constant talk of sadness, devotion and depression.

This is mocked further when Romeo first sets eyes upon Juliet. "Did my heart love till now?" he asks himself. This shows the fickleness of and speed at which teenage love can change direction. Just a minute before noticing Juliet, Romeo was infatuated by Rosaline then a moment later he is suddenly in love with Juliet.

Throughout the play Shakespeare high-lights the hastiness and impetuous nature of Romeo and Juliet's teenage love. Friar Laurence advises Romeo that "they stumble that run fast," meaning that their relationship is likely to "stumble" or become difficult if they are too hasty with their actions. This, of course, doesn't prevent the young lovers from marrying soon after...