What theme does Romeo and Juliet's conversation in Act I, Scene v convey?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Whereas Romeo has previously used rhyme when speaking of love (Act I, Scene1), when he has spoken of Rosaline, it has been in terms of formalized courtly love. Now, however, in Act I, Scene 5 when he first sees Juliet, Romeo speaks in rhyming couplets: 

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night  (1.5.46-47)

As Shakespeare uses language to convey character, it is clear that Romeo is struck by Cupid's bow and is immediately infatuated with Juliet. When he approaches her, he speaks to her with reverence, using the religious metaphor of "holy shrine" for Juliet's presence. In addition to this religious figure of speech, the language of the sonnet that Romeo and Juliet share conveys the theme of Romantic Love:

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. (1.5.100-101)

Herein is a shift from Romeo's perspective of women. Now, he perceives them as objects of exalted love whereas he has previously used metaphors of mythology in speaking of Rosaline, figures of speech that create a distance and inequality between lovers.