Romeo and Juliet: Love at First Sight

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As we now know about the other relationships the young lovers are tied into; Shakespeare introduces the new relationship between Romeo and Juliet themselves to the audience. In act one scene five Shakespeare uses hyperbole to demonstrate the difference of feelings compared to earlier in the play- “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!” Romeo is shown here metaphorically lifting Juliet up at first glance; he insinuates his true sincerity by using such words as “beauty” in comparison to talking about Roseline- who he has completely forgotten about by this point. This shows he could not have been truly in love with her. At the same time, Juliet captures the image of Romeo standing across the room looking at her; this causes her to lose her breath in surprise which could be seen as love at first sight. The fact that Romeo mirrors Juliet’s movements as she moves around the room, reveals that he’s taking her lead- he does not know how to approach the situation as he has not experienced this before. Shakespeare does this to show the innocence of the two characters- making it evident that this is a special, one in a lifetime experience. Had the feelings between them just been lust they would have not been so eager to find each other.

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At the point where Romeo is no longer visible, it is evident in Juliet’s face that the hope is lost; Shakespeare uses this expression to his advantage, by showing the audience the contrast between her facial appearance when Romeo is hidden and when he caresses her hand softly. This contrast shows true feelings she has- from hope to a feeling of loss and self-hate for not finding him in time. The first thing Romeo says to Juliet is “If I profane with my unworthiest hand”- “unworthiest” reveals he does not think he is valuable for her; he is putting himself down to elevate her status, as with “holy shrine” and “saints” which are biblical references. During the Elizabethan times, religion played a significant part in everyday life- Shakespeare uses religious imagery and language to show Romeo’s true feelings for Juliet and the sincerity of them. Romeo refers to himself as a “pilgrim” which is inferior to his actual status; this confirms that he believes Juliet is too valuable and worthy for himself. “So, shows a snowy dove trooping with crows” – Shakespeare uses oxymoron’s to compare Juliet with the other females in the room; he refers to her as a “dove” among the “crows”, stating she is pure and beautiful this shows his genuine appreciation for her appearance.

Romeo questions the love he thought he had for Roseline and love itself- “did my heart love till now?” this shows he is maturing and questioning what he feels truly; “heart” suggests that he didn’t love Roseline with this in the first place as it could be a different feeling. Shakespeare also uses iambic pentameter as Romeo speaks about Juliet to show his desire and sincerity of words- this establishes trust in his feelings from the audience. Comparing the way Romeo talks about his love for Juliet, and how the nurse talks about love- in free verse- Shakespeare builds trust from the audience in Romeo’s judgements about his feelings of lust towards Roseline, and the true love he feels for Juliet, thus constructing the audience’s perspectives that the feelings are genuine. 

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Romeo And Juliet: Love at First Sight. (2020, May 14). Retrieved December 5, 2022 , from

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