What does Romeo and Juliet have to say about love in Act 1? In the dictionary, love is described as being a strong feeling of affection towards another person. In our society, love can either be seen as something inexistent and completely imaginary, or something truly magical that everyone wants to experience at least once in their lives. In Romeo and Juliet, love is recognized as being the main theme as it is at the base of the whole storyline; however, Shakespeare intelligently shows distinction between different types of love that can either be inspiring and intriguing or offensive, violent and inappropriate.
From Scene 1, in the first few lines, we already notice many expressions with sexual references, for instance ‘Therefore I will push Montage’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall”, said by Sampson indicating that he was going to rape young Montages women. Another example of this could be “Me they shall feel while I am able to stand” which refers to Sampson sexual life. This portrays from an early stage of the play the more carnal aspect of Verona’s society, which is from the start very sexist and violent. This foreshadows the first type of love that we will encounter in the text: a sexual love.
In my opinion, don’t think this should be categorized with other types of love, but it should be considered more like an attraction or sometimes even like a powerful form violence: “Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads – take it in what sense thou wilt” refers to the Montage’s ladies’ virginity’s that are bound to be taken by Sampson. This kind of appeal is represented to be in contrast with the romantic views of love. It is often illustrated by Mercuric, the Nurse and other minor characters such as Sampson and Gregory. Shakespeare chose to depict this contrast to balance Romeo and Gullet’s magical love.
The reason why think the word appeal would be more appropriate is because men refer to women as objects, with symbolisms that illustrate figures like for example fruit; consumable and that rot: “Let two more summers wither in their pride, ere we may think her ripe to be a bride”. Women were also seen as exclusively sexual entertainment: “Among fresh female buds shall you in this night, inherit at my house. Hear all, see all, and like her most whose merit most shall be”, said by Caplet to Paris, pushing him to look around him and see which woman might attract him; although he knew Paris wanted to marry his gather Juliet.
Generally, I think this has a big impact on the audience because it shows that with the exclusion of Romeo and Juliet, the attraction felt between a man and a woman in Verona was purely lustful. Another type of love that is explored in the play “Romeo and Juliet” is a more courtly love: a medieval European literary conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. In courtly love it is customary for the male to be very lavish and over the top in his praise of the female. This is based on a set Of rules and expectations about the way lovers from the aristocratic classes should behave.
For instance, the man should fall in love with a woman from a higher social class that might also be unavailable. She must be cold and proud, in order to inflame his passion and turn him into a melancholic character. He should also try to perform deeds to make himself look good and also he shouldn’t stop thinking about her. Shakespeare chooses to present Romeo as a courtly lover to show the audience and make them realize how pure and real the love between him and Juliet was. We see this type of fondness in Act 1 when Romeo vaguely talks about his early love for Rosalie.
In fact, it is hanks to her that we see the melancholic, attention seeking and desperate essence of Romeo before he meets Juliet. Due to his way of loving by looking from afar, we immediately sense a feeling of sadness and maybe boredom caused by not having what he wants in his way of speaking: “Is the day so young? “, “Ay me, sad hours seem so long”, “Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love” or indeed “Don’t add more grief to too much of my own”. We understand he’s talking about Rosalie when he says: “In sadness, cousin, do love a woman” and NTIS the was to call hers – exquisite – in question more thou cants teach me to forget”.
Shakespeare denotes this behavior by making Romeo speak in a very specific way; he often uses rhymes which portray his childishness but also uses oxymoron’s: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction: “O heavy lightness, serious vanity”, “Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health”. Oxymoron’s are used in Romeos language to reflect youthful, idealized notions of romance. Romeo describes his state of mind through these in order to blend the joys of love with the emotional desolation of unrequited love.
Another example of courtly love might also be the relationship between Juliet and Paris. From Act 1 Scene 2, Paris immediately shows his interest towards marrying Juliet “But now, my lord, what say you to my suit? “. He mainly talks to Gullet’s father Lord Caplet (as for tradition), but he also does not show any deep feelings for her, and even says he has “little talked of love”. This seems to indicate he wants a good marriage rather than the two of them falling in love. We see this when he is talking to Lord Caplet and says “Younger than she are happy mothers made”.
This is said after Caplet expresses a bit of concern due to the daughters young age, but Paris is only interested in being settled with a Oman who carries a good name. Don’t think Paris’ feelings for Juliet should be classified as courtly love with Romeo and Rationale’s relationship, as it is certainly more conventional, unrequited and in my opinion from what I can see in Act 1, not very genuine either. There also are two other types of love which are harder to identify but that, I think, are very valuable as well. One is the love regarding friendship that, no matter what, will always be at the base of one’s happiness.
For example, in Act 1 Scene 1 the relationship between Benevolent and Romeo compellingly demonstrates their friendship and how such they care about each other: “Dost thou not laugh? ” “NO, coo, I rather weep” “Good heart at what? ” “At thy good heart’s oppression”. Although they might criticize each other, they would also take great risks for one another. Quotations like these demonstrate that although living in the confused and unsettled Verona was hard, Shakespeare makes the audience understand that the most genuine feelings remained the same.
The other kind of endearment is a more familiar one. We see this throughout Scene 3, when Lady Caplet talks about her daughter whose age she barely remembers, and hen the Nurse tells the audience about her poignant story of when she lost her daughter Susan, as “she was too good” for her. This has an immediate big effect on the audience as we understand that the Nurse is like a mother to Juliet, who raised her, fed her and stood by her throughout her whole infancy and adolescence.
We immediately feel a sense of gratefulness towards her, as she seems like a caring but realistic character that clashes with the dismissive personality of dad Caplet. We also might feel a bit sorry for her as her young daughter died and for all we know it might have been because of her duty to look after Juliet. In general, the audience gains sympathy for her because she seems like a genuine character, in contrast to some violent and rude men seen before. With quotations like “Go, girl.
Seek happy nights to happy days”, We not only notice a sexual emphasis as she referred to ‘nights’ talking about sex, but she talks to her like a mother, wishing her to be truly happy. Finally, another type of love Shakespeare decided to represent is the one I think not only is most intriguing and significant, but it’s also at the base of the most important relationship in the play: the magical young love between Romeo and Juliet. This is our classic idea of romantic love – they will do anything for each other and their language and behavior reflect this.
In fact, they share a sonnet, which makes the audience understand that this foreshadows the profound love that is about to bloom between them. Unfortunately, we don’t see much of the two lovers together in Act 1 , apart from the very engaging dialogue they have when they meet each other in Scene 5. Romeo presents himself as he’s used to, using his charm and good manners, asking permission for a kiss, expecting Juliet to fall for him, but instead she uses her sharpness and humor, by being flirtatious and putting IM on the spot.
However, before they can talk further, the Nurse calls Juliet to see her mother. After Juliet leaves, Romeo asks the Nurse her name, and is shocked to learn that his new object of desire is a Caplet. As the party winds down, Juliet asks her Nurse about Romeo. When she learns about Romeos identity, she is heartbroken to find out that she has fallen in love with a “loathed enemy”. This shows that in Italy, where love goes so does hate. However, from Act 1 Shakespeare makes one thing clear: Romeo and Gullet’s passion will go against Verona’s ideals of love.