Romeo and juliet critical essays

Romeo claims it is his "fortune" to read — indeed, "fortune" or chance has led Capulet's servant to him — and this scene prepares us for the tragic inevitability of the play.

The lovers will be punished not because of flaws within their personalities but because fate is against them. Ironically, the servant invites Romeo to the Capulet's house, as long as he is not a Montague, to "crush a cup of wine. Love is another important thematic element in the play, which presents various types of love: the sensual, physical love advocated by the Nurse; the Proper or contractual love represented by Paris; and the passionate, romantic love of Romeo and Juliet.

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How do these various types of love relate to one another? Is physical attraction a necessary component of romantic love?


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Because words are slippery, Juliet worries that Romeo's protestation of love are merely lies. How can we know if love is true?


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Another important theme is the idea of value and doubleness. Just as language is ambiguous, so are value judgments. Within a flower, for example lies both poison and medicine. Similarly, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet are tragic but also bring new life to Verona.

Romeo and Juliet

The Friar's own role in the play contains this ambiguity. Although he tries to help the lovers, his actions lead to their suffering. Shakespeare's message is that nothing is purely good or evil; everything contains elements of both. Ambiguity rules.

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A final theme to be considered is the meaning of gender. In particular, the play offers a variety of versions of masculinity. One example is Mercutio, the showy male bird, who enjoys quarreling, fencing and joking.

Mercutio has definite ideas about what masculinity should look like. He criticizes Tybalt for being too interested in his clothes and for speaking with a fake accent. Each volume includes: -- An introduction providing the reader with a lucid overview of criticism from its beginnings -- illuminating controversies, evaluating approaches and sorting out the schools of thought -- The most influential reviews and the best reprinted scholarly essays -- A section devoted exclusively to reviews and reactions by the subject's contemporaries -- Original essays, new translations and revisions commissioned especially for the series -- Previously unpublished materials such as interviews, lost letters and manuscript fragments -- A bibliography of the subject's writings and interviews -- A name and subject index Get A Copy.

Romeo and Juliet Essay

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