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Concepts of love in Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet


In Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, love is portrayed as both a source of joy and suffering. Romeo expresses his unrequited love for Rosaline, describing it as painful and consuming, while Benvolio advises him to forget her and consider other women. This scene sets the stage for the complex and multifaceted nature of love explored throughout the play.

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What concepts of love are expressed in act 1, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

In Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo thinks himself "in love" with Rosaline, but he hasn't had enough experience to understand the true depth of feeling meant by the phrase. He moves effortlessly from being hearbroken over his unrequited love to being hungry to realizing that something has been going on in the area.

Alas that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should without eyes see pathways to his will!
Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?

Romeo understands the concept of love between two individuals, but doesn't know what that can entail.

Love as loyalty to family is also demonstrated in this scene. Sampson and Gregory, backed by Tybalt and the others, pick a fight with the Montagues to demonstrate their family pride and power, the love of their position and the superiority they feel it gives the Capulets.

What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward!

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What concepts of love are expressed in act 1, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

In act 1, scene 1, of Romeo and Juliet, Gregory and Sampson pick a fight with two servants of the Montague family out of loyalty to their employers, the Capulet family. Their love for the Capulets leads them to display aggression and hostility towards the Montagues. The contrast between their love for the Capulets and their hatred for the Montagues sets the tone for the rest of the play, especially when Tybalt and Benvolio get involved and an insignificant trifle becomes a full-fledged brawl.

Soon after the fight is resolved, Benvolio introduces Romeo to the audience while he discusses Romeo and his current withdrawn behaviors with Romeo's parents. Later, the audience learns that Romeo is suffering from heartache. His emotional pain, inflicted by a woman, contrasts with the physical pain of the brawl. The tension between emotional pain and physical pain suggests that one is more obvious and observable than the other. This introduction of secrecy as it relates to matters of love is another topic explored throughout the rest of the play.

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What concepts of love are expressed in act 1, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

There are a couple of concepts of love (and other things) that can be seen in this scene.

First, you have all the stuff that Sampson says.  It's not love, really, that he's talking about, but it is relations between men and women.  His vision of "love" is the sort of swaggering, bragging, women-are-sex-objects view of "love."

Then you have Romeo's "love" for Rosaline.  His is a sort of pathetic infatuation.  He idolizes her and plaes her on a pedestal.  His "love" for her makes him weak because she won't return that love.

So the contrast is between two things that I wouldn't even call love -- there's treating women as sex objects and treating them as unattainable and perfect.

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What five concepts of love are presented in Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

Benvolio represents brotherly love. He has as much reason as Romeo to be sad, but he never shares his sorrow. He wants to keep the peace, and he wants Romeo to "be ruled by [him]"--that is, follow his advice and look at other girls. He acts as a true guy friend would act.

Romeo represents cupiditas, or lustful love. He is the "romantic" lover, always looking for someone to return his affections. He is like the fireworks the Friar speaks of--quick and explosive to love.

Romeo's servant is faithful love or loyalty. Balthazar rides for miles to give Romeo the news of Juliet's death, and he stays near the tomb even after Romeo tells him to leave because he is concerned about Romeo's well-being.

Montague parents represent familial love. They both care deeply about Romeo. They are observant and they know he is depressed, but they can't get him to talk to them. Kind of like the love between parents and teenagers now.

The Prince represents caritas, or the love of mankind. He rules justly, with a kind heart, but with an eye also to keeping the peace. He is willing to sacrifice one of his subjects for the good of the whole community.

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