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Perhaps the defining feature of Romeo's personality is that he is extremely impulsive. He has strong feelings, but they do not necessarily last for very long. At the beginning of the play, he is deeply in love with Rosaline and remarks that this love is like a sickness for him because he loves her but cannot have her. Soon, however, he moves on to Juliet and falls passionately in love with her to the extent that his love for Rosaline pales by comparison. Romeo forgets his own safety in his desire to be with Juliet. He climbs into the orchard of the Capulets' home; the more pragmatic Juliet points out that if anyone finds him here, they will "murder" him, but Romeo is more fanciful, saying that love's wings have carried him over the high walls, setting more store by being with his new love than in his own safety. Romeo is, arguably, brave, but he is not necessarily very sensible. Sometimes he does try to restrain himself, such as when he tries not to fight Tybalt, now his kinsman, but ultimately he is goaded into fighting anyway. Romeo frequently uses very courtly, flowery language; note that the interactions between him and Juliet often involve Juliet offering the more sensible advice, while Romeo is at times almost a parody of a courtly lover.

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Early in the play, Romeo is lovelorn and devastated by the news that Rosaline, a young woman for whom he has openly declared his love, has decided to remain chaste, and will not return his affections. He is completely lovesick, wandering alone and refusing to interact with anyone. This changes when he attends the Capulet family masque, where he immediately falls in love with Juliet. The fact that he switches his total infatuation from Rosaline to Juliet so quickly suggests that Romeo is impetuous; indeed, the Friar accuses him of exactly this. Emotional and sometimes irrational, Romeo wears his heart on his sleeve. His love for Juliet is sincere, and much of his apparent impetuosity, especially late in the play when he believes Juliet is dead, comes from his love. Romeo could also be said to be immature, childish, and self-absorbed early in the play, but after meeting Juliet (even if his reaction to his banishment is not exactly dignified), all of his actions must be viewed in light of his love for her.

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