In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, how does Romeo express his feelings of love in Act1, Scene 1?  

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1, Scene 1 Romeo expresses his feelings of love as a feeling of torment. Due to his heartbreak over Rosaline, using a series of oxymora, Romeo expresses love as being, and feeling, the exact opposite of what it should be. For example, Romeo calls love a "brawling love," meaning a love that is fighting, or hostile (174). Generally when we picture love, we picture it as being a peaceful or contented state. The phrase "brawling hate" shows us how much Romeo is internally battling with Rosaline's indifference and feeling inner turmoil.

A second oxymoron Romeo uses to portray love as being the exact opposite of what it seems is "loving hate" (174). Hatred is the exact opposite of love, but because Rosaline has rejected his love, Romeo feels that love is a form of hatred.

Finally, more oxymora depicting Romeo's expression of love can be seen in the line, "Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!" (178). Love can make a person feel like he/she is walking on air, yet Romeo's love for Rosaline is making him feel heavy-hearted. Love should be a bright, sparkling emotion, yet Rosaline has rejected him, putting out his flame, and leaving nothing but smoke in return. Also, to Romeo, love feels like a fiery, passionate emotion, yet Rosaline's cold rejection is making his love feel icy cold. Finally, love should be a very healthful, uplifting emotion, but his obsession over Rosaline makes him see that love can make a person mentally, and even physically, ill. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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