What affect does the accelerated time scheme have upon the play Romeo and Juliet?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the theme of the overpowering force of love, the accelerated time scheme serves most to reflect the tumultuousness of the passion between the young lovers of Romeo and Juliet that virtually catapults them against their ruler, their families, their friends, their spiritual adviser, and their individual fates. Meteoric, the passionate love of Romeo and Juliet for each other generates the alacrity of time, that creation of man that reflects his own sense of immediacy and necessity. For, in history, loves such as the impetuous one of the young Veronese caught in the enmity of their families are not uncommon during times of war, and these loves are consummated just as quickly.

Further, the intensity of the passions of Romeo and Juliet generates a chaos of emotion in others. For instance, although Friar Laurence cautions Romeo early in the drama, "Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast" (2.3.97), he is so affected by the sweeping pace of the violent emotions of the young characters such as Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, and Tybalt, that he himself surrenders to this tsunami of feelings that eradicates rationality. Reacting far too quickly to Juliet's storm of irrational emotion--just as her father has done--he suggests his plan to feign her death. And, although this ploy could have worked, he becomes as impetuous as the young lovers when he hears the guards at the catacombs in Act V and selfishly flees without trying to rouse Juliet.

Certainly, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a drama charged with the turbulence of unbridled and impetuous love which engenders violence and death. So strong is the emotional pitch of this play, that it sweeps across even the adult characters and time itself fast-forwards in a rush to the tragic resolution.

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Romeo and Juliet

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