Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Romeo and Juliet, how does Shakespeare show love at first sight, and is it effective and believable?

Whether or not Romeo and Juliet actually fall in love at first sight is personal opinion, but what Shakespeare does effectively portray is the way people, especially teenagers, become easily infatuated with someone whom they've never met based on appearances alone. Shakespeare shows their attraction when they first lay eyes on each other at the Capulet ball by having Romeo express his admiration for Juliet's beauty as better than any other he's seen, and vice versa. It is true that both feel they have fallen in love.

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I think Shakespeare wants the audience to believe this is love at first sight. After all, in the first lines of the play, they are referred to as the "star-crossed lovers," meaning they were fated to meet and fall helplessly in love. And the action he creates transpires over a handful of days; at the end of these few days, Romeo and Juliet are willing to die for each other. Thus, there does seem to be some credence for the "love at first sight" analysis.

Romeo certainly proclaims his love for Juliet as soon as he beholds her:

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. (I.v.55-56)

He immediately forgets his misery over Rosaline, which has plagued him for the entire play thus far, and becomes much more hopeful with this immediate change in demeanor. When he finds out that Juliet is a Capulet, he bemoans, "My life is my foe’s debt" (I.v.129).

Juliet is willing to be kissed by Romeo, teasing him playfully and inviting further affection. When he...

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