Themes in Romeo and Juliet

Essay by disturb-meCollege, Undergraduate November 2014

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Romeo and Juliet is the best known Shakespeare play ever, not to say the most famous western love story. It is difficult to have a valuable trace of Shakespeare's work because of the fact that he did not signed any play. It is a passionate love story. Even if the play is commonly considered as a tragedy, the beginning can be viewed as a comedy: bawdy play on words, amusing quarrel and its unoriginal love stories. Until the end we want to believe in an issue for the two heroes. Shakespeare makes grow the suspense until the end by playing with the return of hope and some deceptive effects. The huge success of this play which achieved posterity is due to a remarkable drama's knowledge, but also to its themes.

We may notice that love is a notion which is evolving throughout the text and presented under different forms. The first form of love presented in the play is the one of the petrarchan poet held by Romeo regarding his first love, Rosaline.

At the beginning of the play, Romeo, just as Petrarch, suffers an unshared love. From there, love does not mean happiness but rather pain in that case, especially regarding the lexical field of pain when this first love is evoked by Romeo: he's talking about being injured by Cupid "Grief of mine own lie heavy in my breast", he even compares himself to half dead half alive because of this unshared love "Do I live dead that live to tell it now.". Love is presented here as a paradoxical feeling, and this can be proved thanks to the numorous oxymora used by Romeo to tell about this love "O brawling love, o loving hate" "mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!". More than idealizing it, Romeo worships Rosaline's beauty...