What does Romeo's speech tell us about the role of men/women in Elizabethan times? How does this compare with the language used in Act 2 scene 2?My essay question is:  How does Shakespeare show...

What does Romeo's speech tell us about the role of men/women in Elizabethan times?

How does this compare with the language used in Act 2 scene 2?

My essay question is:  How does Shakespeare show how love affects Romeo in Act 1 Scene 1 contrasted with how Romeo feels in Act 2 scene 2?

I need to answer, Only refer to Act 1 Scene 1 & Act 2 scene .
What does Romeo's speech tell us about the role of men/women in Elizabethan times?

How does this compare with the language used in Act 2 scene 2?

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo's language about Rosaline in Act I, scene i demonstrates the idea that women are here to serve men through their looks.


She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store.

She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,

 

'Tis the way
To call hers exquisite, in question more:
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows
Being black put us in mind they hide the fair;
He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost:
Show me a mistress that is passing fair,
What doth her beauty serve, but as a note
Where I may read who pass'd that passing fair?
Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget.

Everything Romeo says about women in that Act has to do with their looks. At one point he calls her wise and then either corrects himself or adds to his phrase by saying "wisely too fair."

By Act two, he isn't talking just about looks anymore, he references love. Love drove him there... with Love's wings he o'erperched the walls. He is ready to commit to Juliet and he wants satisfaction that love will be returned.

You could get a strong idea about men/women in Elizabethan times by watching Gweneth Paltrow's character in Shakespeare in Love. She has a marriage arranged for her even though she is in love with Shakespeare. We watch the problem this forces her to deal with.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

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