Examine the motivations behind Shakespeare compressing the time in Romeo and Juliet.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down.  I would suggest that the compression of time in the relationship between Romeo and Juliet helps to enhance the idea that they were "star- crossed lovers."  If their relationship was expanded out over a long period of time, the intensity of their feelings would dissipate.  It is precisely because they are placed in a time- compressed setting that their relationship acquires a "star- crossed" element, almost to convey that if they do not act in a particular brisk manner, their opportunity to find a place outside of Verona for one another will dissipate.  Additionally, I think that Shakespeare understood that part of the attraction to the love of Romeo and Juliet exists in their youth.  Both of them are very young.  As young love goes, there is a time issue that is predisposed to being quick and immediate as opposed to sustained over time. The intensity of their emotions, the perceived pressing need to act, as well as their focus within the urgency of now are all elements that motivate Shakespeare to place them in a time compressed setting.  It is the fire that burns that exists within both, almost as if a fire that cannot be controlled.  This lends credence to how Shakespeare places them in a context that is compressed by time, if nothing else to convey how even time is working against the "star- crossed lovers."