In an age where English and European literature flourished, the play was perhaps one of the most famous and celebrated. Notably one of the iris of Shakespearean plays to be performed outside of England, it was also one of the most popular in his day, as well as being the most performed Shakespearean play ever, tied with Hamlet. Based on an epic narrative poem written 30 years earlier by fellow Englishman Arthur Brooke, Shakespeare adapted and intensified the story, as well as changing the portrayal of the two main characters; Romeo and Juliet.
In the original poem the couple were portrayed in accordance to the social situation of the time, where they would have been vilified for defying their families. Shakespeare instead portrayed hem in a much more sympathetic light, where their love transcended social conforms and eventually led to the reconciliation of their two feuding families. This love is presented to the audience via various tones and themes throughout the play.
These form an “emotional voice” which portrays Romeo and Gullet’s love in a specific and complex way.
By comparing the emotional voice featured in Romeo and Juliet to ones from other works both contemporary to Romeo and Juliet, as well as poems written since and some of Shakespearean other works we can see how social context, the writer’s tuition and other factors can all affect the emotional voice features in a play, poem or sonnet. Although best known for his plays, William Shakespeare was an extremely prolific writer of all kinds of literature.
In a 30 year career Shakespeare wrote over 100 sonnets. One of these is Sonnet 130. Written in a time where the love was sonnet was an essential component of the courtship between a man and a woman, Sonnet 130 is a break from the traditional Patriarchate love sonnet of the period, which was created by famous Italian poet Francesco Petard in the 14th century. In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare mocks and satires the Patriarchate love sonnet and indeed the courtly routines of the time.
Characteristic of the Patriarchate love sonnet (which by Shakespearean time in the late 1 5th and early 1 6th centuries had become almost clickd and overused) were grand, sweeping metaphors and similes, as well as personification, imagery and elaborate comparisons. Shakespeare includes many of these features in Sonnet 130 but instead of using them to compliment or praise something, he uses them to poke fun at the romantic norm, as well as to highlight how realistic and sincere his love for his mistress is.
At first glance, the emotional voice in Sonnet 130 is cynical and wry; Shakespeare knows openly admits the flaws of his mistress, and does not try to hide them or to endeavourer the reader towards her. However, if the poem is read into more seriously, one can see that the writer’s emotional voice is sincere and true. Several aspects of this are mirrored in Romeo and Juliet. Although the play is centered around his love with Juliet, at the beginning of the play Romeo loves another-Rosalie. Initially this love with Rosalie seems to grip Romeos heart, and when she rejects him, he falls into deep melancholy.
His courtship of her is a more traditional, more conformed one than his courtship of Juliet. Romeos love of Rosalie is similar to the kind of love that Shakespeare mocks in Sonnet 130: one which isn’t false, but nothing like the sincere true love between Romeo and Juliet. The features of a Patriarchate sonnet (namely metaphors, elaborate imagery and other devices) can also be found in the early part of Romeo and Gullet’s courtship, where Romeo compares Juliet to the sun, says that his love for her enables him to do anything and uses many other metaphors which the first, hymnal voice of love in Sonnet 130 would deem clickd and overused.
On the other hand, the second, sincere love (which features at the end of Sonnet 130) can be found in the same balcony scene, where Juliet asks Romeo to avoid such clickd normality, and whether his love for her in sincere. Another work famous for its vivid and distinct emotional voice of love is English poet John Classes 18th century work “First Love”. Written by Clare about his first and only true love-a woman called Mary Joyce, who was the daughter of a wealthy land owner.
Clare, who is today known as the “greatest labouringly lass poet that England has ever produced” was rebuked by her which cause a lasting melancholic effect on both his poetry and his life, although he later married and had 6 children. In contrast to Shakespearean Sonnet 130, where the emotional voice looks outwards towards other people and general society at the time, and gently satires the courtships of others, Claret’s “First Love” looks inwards towards the author’s own emotions and responses to love.
Describing in detail Claret’s love, the poem’s tone is far more intense than Sonnet 1 30, “First Love” was written for Mary Joyce in an attempt to woo her. This difference in atmosphere be;en the two works could perhaps be explained by the extreme difference in the two poets lifestyles and situations. Sonnet 130 was written in the asses or early asses, when William Shakespeare was one of England’s premier poets and writers. “First Love” was written early in the 19th century, when John Clare was a farm laborer, being rejected by his true love.
This rejection could have led to a kind of desperation in Claret’s works, whereas Shakespearean enduring successes could have lent him the outward looking composure which can be found in Sonnet 130. Despite the numerous cultural, social and historical factors which set Clare and Shakespearean Romeo apart, there are some aspects Of their love which can be seen to be quite similar. Like Clare, Romeo felt bitter rejection early on which left him in a melancholy and depressed state (albeit for a much shorter period, and which was later assuaged by his true love for Juliet).
Like Clare, Romeo is separated from his true love by a social division; in Romeos case the Caplet-Montague feud, in Claret’s case the vast social gulf. This affinity is reflected in the similarities between Romeos initial courting of Juliet and “First Love”. Both feature rhetorical questions, metaphors and similes, and elaborate imagery. The excited, desperate and intense emotional voice of “First Love” is mirrored in Romeos speeches and statements early in his courtship (for example, al. . 95, Romeo describes Juliet as a “holy shrine”, and then details his “lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss”. The emotional voices of the two works have a marked similarity. In distinct contrast to the emotional voices of “First Love” and Sonnet 130, as well as the tones of Romeo and Gullet’s intense and sincere arthritis is the view of love as a superficial thing; which is based on the physical not the mental or spiritual.
A key character in Romeo and Juliet, that of Mercuric (Romeos staunch ally and companion) holds this view, and the emotional voice which projects throughout the play is a cynical, almost shallow opinion of love. From the very beginning of the play Mercuric acts as a sort of “counter-Romeo”, whose opinions of love are opposite to Romeos in every way. Mercuric emphasizes the sexual side of love, often referencing sex in his lines. This provides both a contrast to Romeos more serious and ember views on love as well as a comic relief for the audience.
Even in Shakespearean time, Mercuric was an extremely well received character, and he was one of the few who retained that popularity into some of the periods in the following centuries when Shakespeares works fell somewhat in eminence. In the 1 6th century (when Romeo and Juliet was written), the norms of love and relationships were drastically different to the ones today. Marriage was seen as a political tool, and more often than not, people married for convenience more than love. As well as this, life expectancy was such shorter and women married much younger (early teens) to accommodate this.
The original, Elizabethan audiences would have been more accustomed to the cynical side of love, and (as well as Romeo and Gullet’s unusual marriage of intense love) they would have found Americium’s blatant puns and innuendos extremely funny. In a period where the theatre was the only dedicated form of public entertainment, Mercuric would have been a comic element that probably wouldn’t be allowed in modern theatres. His puns, if translated into a modern context probably wouldn’t be approved of in a contemporary theatre. For example, (II. I. 3-26), his innuendo “Told anger him, To raise a spirit in his mistresses circle” references……….. These references and puns work to create an emotional voice which is both frank, emphasizes the sexual side of love and adds a light edge to the otherwise somber love content. A work written almost in parallel with Shakespearean is Andrew Marvels “To His Coy Mistress”. Written only half a century after Romeo and Juliet in the asses, the poem is considered to be one of Marvels best works, as well as one of the best “carper diem” poems ever written.
The mom centers around a man (presumably Marvel himself) trying to persuade a woman with whom he is already involved, to consummate their relationship. A prime example of a seductive piece of literature, ‘To his Coy Mistress” uses devices such as elaborate imagery and metaphors, as well as structural techniques, bringing across an air of persuasive eloquence. Witty and intelligent line such as ‘The grave’s a fine and private place/out none think there embrace” are juxtaposed to intense and disturbing imagery (for example “My echoing song; then worms shall try/That long preserve rigidity’) to create an atmosphere of urgency.
Marvel also uses personification to intensify the poem, lines such as “But at my back I always hear/Time’s winged chariot near’, which combine to with much lighter metaphors and innuendos to create an ever changing pace and tempo. Rhyming couplets throughout the poem also add to this feeling of a fast rhythm. Whilst “To his Coy Mistress” is a poem, the structure is not dissimilar to that of a persuasive speech or argument. Each stanza features a different approach to the subject; the first describes an ideal situation, whilst the second focuses on the conflict or problem of time and the final stanza details a solution.
Much like the intro, argument and conclusion of a persuasive speech this structure would have been extremely effective. The urgency in many of the lines is carried across in the overall emotional voice of Marvels work. This is similar to the emotional voice, at times, in Romeo and Juliet. The overall sense of time and the urgency with which the male protagonist (Marvel or Romeo) tries to persuade their respective lovers are present in both works. The emotional voice of “To his Coy Mistress” also proposes the sickening of his relationship, as do both Romeo and Juliet (for example, Romeo proposing marriage after only a few days).
Cite this Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: Emotional Voices of Love
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: Emotional Voices of Love. (2018, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/shakespeares-romeo-and-juliet-emotional-voices-of-love/