How does Shakespeare show how love affects Romeo in Act 1 Scene 1, contrasted with how Romeo feels in Act 2 scene 2?What event has occured for Romeo to feel like this?How does this compare with...
How does Shakespeare show how love affects Romeo in Act 1 Scene 1, contrasted with how Romeo feels in Act 2 scene 2?
What event has occured for Romeo to feel like this?
How does this compare with the language used in Act 2 Scene 2?
The transformation in Romeo's character from the first act to the second is as dramatic as night and day. When we first meet Romeo, he is sullen, melancholy, brooding, removed from his family...almost a typical infatuated teenager. His "love" for Rosaline is an obsession, and he suffers in that these feelings are unrequited. His feelings about love are heavy with contrast, a mixture of delight and grief.
Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first create!(175)
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Those around him notice, and are constantly attempting to draw him out of his foul mood. His father goes so far as to say that Romeo avoids the sun:
Away from light steals home my heavy son
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out(135)
And makes himself an artificial night.
So Romeo is the ultimate moper, locking himself in his room, drawing the curtains closed, and shunning all who try to cheer him up. Mercutio will get much of the same reaction later in this act, as he roughly chides Romeo for his fawning over Rosaline.
Once he meets Juliet, this all changes. Suddenly love brings Romeo happiness and joy, and he once again delights in ribbing Mercutio and engaging in quick-witted wordplay. In contrast to the heaviness he associates with love in the first act, Romeo now asserts that
With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls;(70)
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.
Thus Juliet's love brings a sense of weightlessness, a determination to do anything to be with her. Romeo's love for Juliet produces the opposite effects in his personality.