Free «Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare» Essay Sample

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Throughout the centuries, the name of William Shakespeare has been and continues to be a standard of literary genius not only in the Great Britain, but also all over the world. Romeo and Juliet is perhaps one of the most sorrowful and in the same time, the most strong and irresistible love stories in the world, which belongs to Shakespeare's pen. The play raises such eternal themes as love, innocence, morality, hatred, and inevitability of fate. Moreover, Shakespeare contrasts the bright feeling of love between two young people and a bitter hostility between their families. The plot of Romeo and Juliet spans only four days, but this short period is enough to convey emergence of feelings, their development, and tragic ending. Therefore, combination of setting, outstanding characters, music, grandiloquent language, and refined clothing represents an all-consuming power of love that exists even beyond mortal life.

The story of Renaissance Shakespeare's tragedy unfolds in two Italian cities – Verona and Mantua. Moreover, setting helped the writer to demonstrate two different worlds of Juliet and her lover Romeo through the atmosphere of Italian streets as well as marvelous architecture of buildings. Although Romeo likes to spend time by moping and thinking in his bedroom, the reader frequently meets him wandering around the streets. Romeo's attraction to the streets represents his belonging to freewheeling and carefree world of youths who can always be found on the street. In contrast, the young Capulet heroine is protected by father's supervision and thus she is never seen on the streets. Being a decent daughter, Juliet is not allowed to leave the walls of father's house. However, there is also a religious setting in the play – the church of Friar Laurence becomes the only place where two lovers can meet. However, the nature of such religious surrounding is pretty controversial because instead of saving two souls it indirectly leads to their destruction.

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Romeo and Juliet are the two principal characters in the play who really stand out. Romeo is considered to be the greatest lover in the literary tradition who tries to win the heart of daughter from his family's big enemy – the Capulets. Romeo's character is dynamic; his love to Juliet develops from the superficial desire to be loved into deep and intense feelings. Deep love to Juliet compels him to go against his family, risking his life to see a young girl at least for a minute. Furthermore, tragic news of Juliet's death force Romeo to suicide that perfectly demonstrates his inflammatory temper. Additionally, Romeo’s extreme behavior dominates over common sense throughout the whole play and becomes one of the components that contribute to tragic ending. As for Juliet, she is depicted as an obedient and sheltered young girl who does not even think of marriage. The young Capulet is enclosed from the outer world, but during four days, she transforms from a naive child into a sensitive woman. Therefore, Juliet is also a dynamic character – love to Romeo makes her confident and daring woman.

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Presence of music in the play has an important role. For instance, the wedding musicians emerge in the Act IV, Scene V (Shakespeare 464); their cheerful conversation with Peter reflects the insincerity of the Capulet family towards their daughter. Juliet's sincerity also comes out to be a falsehood because she is ready to betray her family to succeed in her own desires, and only musicians seem to be truthful to make money. Moreover, this episode with musicians has also a comic character – it is purposed to relieve the emotional strain of the audience. Thus, the mention of music is used to strengthen the intrigue as well as to represent lack of true feelings of parents who are guided rather by selfish thoughts than warm feelings and support. In addition to this, language of Shakespeare's play is one of the most convincing aspects that contribute to intense deployment of events and tragic ending. Shakespeare's characters in Romeo and Juliet convey great verbal agility – they curse, quarrel, vow oaths, and get rid of each other that becomes possible due to the excessive use of action verbs. The play is also rich with such literary devices as puns, oxymorons, paradoxes, and hidden or double meanings. One can also notice the frequent use of names in questions, and Juliet's soliloquy on the balcony is the best example of it. Moreover, Romeo's and Juliet's language becomes richer and stronger that demonstrates how love changes a person for better. Therefore, the dramatic and poetic nature of Shakespeare's verses conveys eloquence of the epoch.

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The clothing of Shakespeare's characters are rich and elegant to demonstrate the beauty and wealth of the Elizabethan era. Thus, dressing can be regarded as a direct indication of rich life and its cost has been related to the type of cloth, colors and jewelry. The main characters in the play belong to the two most prosperous families in the city, and it is obvious that their clothing is expensive and fancy. Thereby, women wore silk, satin, gold, or taffeta dresses; each had long and braided hair, hats, gloves, ruffs, stockings, and shoes. Men were not inferior women in elegance of their clothing; they were dressed in shortened pants, shirts, vests, beautiful cloak pieces with red or gold lining, and hats. However, there was one distinguish thing in the clothes of two hostile families – the Montagues had tokens on their hats, while their enemies the Capulets had not (Shakespeare 435). Therefore, clothing in Romeo and Juliet is used to show the difference between the two opposing families as well as represent wealth of the Elizabethan times.

Additionally, Romeo and Juliet is a remarkable play about the all-consuming power of love where tragic final puts an end to the senseless hatred. Shakespeare's masterful use of setting, characters, music, language, and clothing conveys atmosphere of the Elizabethan era. All these components contribute to tragic ending, but it becomes only a beginning for two lovers because their passionate feelings will live forever.