A drama well known by William Shakespeare is Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s play about the doomed romance of two teenagers from feuding families is the most famous love story written. This play was first performed around 1596, Romeo and Juliet has been adapted by ballets, operas, the musical West Side Story, and a dozen other films.
The forcefulness of love, love is the play’s most dominant and most important theme. The play focuses on romantic love, specifically the intense passion that springs up in the first sight between Romeo and Juliet. The love is violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions. Love as a cause of violence, the themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether the passion is love or hate. The individual versus society, much of Romeo and Juliet involves the lovers’ struggles against public and social institutions that disagree with the existence of their love. The inevitability to fate, this is the first address to the audience, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are “star crossed” that is to say that fate controls them. This sense of fate permeates the play but, not just for the audience, the characters are also quite aware of it. Romeo’s actions play into the hands of fate, his determination to spend eternity with Juliet results in their deaths.
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Romeo is the son of Montague and Lady Montague. Romeo is sixteen, he is intelligent, handsome, and sensitive. Though immature, his idealism and passion make him a likeable character. Juliet, the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet, a beautiful thirteen-year-old girl. She begins the play as a naive child who has thought little about love and marriage, but she quickly grows up upon falling in love with Romeo, the son of her family’s great enemy. Friar Lawrence, a Franciscan, friend to both Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio who is a kinsman to the Prince, and Romeo’s friend. He is one of the most extraordinary characters in all of Shakespeare’s plays, Mercutio is full of imagination, wit, and at times, a strange, biting satire, and brooding fervor.
In Romeo and Juliet, the play’s main point of view is between two lovers. In the first half of the play, Romeo has the dominant point of view. We spend a majority of our time with him, and he is the character that does the most to advance the action. We first see Juliet at home with her mother and her Nurse, discussing a potential marriage to Paris. Like Romeo, she plans to attend the party to check out a prospective mate. By introducing the audience to each character before they meet each other, the play lets us see who they are as individuals, and how they are changed by love. Romeo initially seems more in love with the idea of love than Rosaline herself, while Juliet seems hesitant to fall in love at all.
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