Compare the poetry and the personalites of Romeo and Juliet. How do they contrast with each other? What might be the reason for these differences? Provide plenty of examples from the play.
Discuss the pacing and structure of the play. Is the structure problematic? Is the love affair believable or not? Why? Provide plenty of examples from the play.
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In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is a romantic character with an overly-idealized vision of love and a propensity to act irrationally. He is overwrought because he is "out of (her) favor" (I.i.166) with Rosaline. Love itself has become a huge conflict for Romeo, indicated by his reference to "O brawling love! O loving hate!" (174). He truly believes what he says and everything for him is intense. Therefore, when he falls for Juliet, his feelings are no less passionate. With Juliet, Romeo's love will develop and more mature feelings will replace his childish infatuation with Rosaline and with the idea of love. It is Juliet's more pragmatic view, emphasized by her words, "You kiss by the book," (I.v.107), which help Romeo to a more tangible vision of love, love of a real person rather than an ideal, which is reflected in his poetry. The comparison of Juliet to "the sun" and the stars reinforces the darkness and light premise that runs throughout and adds weight to the conflict in the real meanings of darkness and light and how, often, contradictory forces affect circumstances.
Juliet is a dutiful daughter and her personality reflects this. Her outward appearance and her undertaking to "look to like" (I.iii.98) Paris by giving consideration to the prospect of marrying him, confirm her initial intentions to conform to her parents' wishes or at least not to show any opposition to them. Juliet, although immediately attracted to Romeo, is far more level-headed in her decision-making:"It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;/ Too like the lightning..."( II.ii.118-119)
Romeo's personality and his capacity for intense feelings, drives the story; he kills Tybalt and, ultimately, tragically, kills himself thinking that Juliet is dead. Therefore, there is a traditional flow to the story. Depending on the analysis of the play, there is a rising action (as Romeo knows he will never be allowed to marry a Capulet), and climax (as Romeo kills Tybalt and is forced to flee). The falling action is the upcoming marriage of Juliet to Paris and the decision, with Friar Lawrence's help, to marry in secret. The matter is resolved at the end, after the lovers' deaths when the families agree to end their feud.
The audience is kept aware of the developing and intensifying situation which ensures that the story line remains believable. Even in the twenty first century, love continues to overwhelm and tragic outcomes do result. Missed communication is a key element of twenty first century relationships which add even more potential to Romeo and Juliet's ultimate misunderstanding of their own position. The truth of Juliet's words confirm the drama and the tragedy: "My grave is like to be my wedding bed..."(I.iv. 133)
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