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Romeo and Juliet Case

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In texts all around the world, a major theme that will run through the majority is love. Presented to contrasting effects, all will have their own unique perception explored through their work. Be their experience second or first hand, everybody looks upon it in different ways. For Shakespeare, in what may be his most influential play to this era, is the tragic love between two "star-crossed lovers" 'Romeo and Juliet'. He most probably got his story from the poem 'The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet' written by the poet Arthur Brooks. 'Romeo and Juliet', despite it being a tragedy, does have some humour. The use of sexual innuendos predominantly in Mercutio's speech about Rosaline may have intended for the lower-class 'groundlings' with a more crude sense of humour. However, only some of this humour would have appealed to the higher classes because of how lewd it was. Some indirect innuendos like the "Poperin pear" would have made the upper classes laugh because it was more thoughtful. 'Romeo and Juliet's' two main scenes of love- Act 1 Sc 5 and Act 2 Sc 2 can be compared on many different levels to all sorts of poems that explore the emotional voice of love through different tones and themes that portray types of love like John Clare's 'First Love', Shakespeare's own 'Sonnet 130' and 'Sonnet 14' by Elizabeth Barret Browning. In many of these, the idea of the 'Petrachan Lover' has been explored, where in particular Romeo goes about attempting to woo Rosaline in this way; by using ornate language and waiting for the female to respond. Love sonnets are also common for this type of acceptable, 'courtly' love, but a reason why 'Romeo and Juliet' may have become so widely enjoyed is the failure of this type of romance and the success of sincerity.

In the many forms that love is presented as- be it poetry or plays, modern or non-contemporary, many describe just how instantaneous it can be. In Act 1 Scene 5, Romeo has a significant speech which enlightens the reader about Romeo's feelings towards Juliet and how deep his love is for her. Romeo is struck by the aura permeating from her and in a trance, asks himself- "Did my heart love till now?" Despite earlier on in the play, where Romeo presents himself as the typical Petrachan lover, wooing his 'love' Rosaline, he questions this previous feeling in that line as an infatuation. Romeo "ne'er saw true beauty till" the night of meeting Juliet- he seems to have been struck in just a moment. This emotion of love being so instant is mimicked in the poem 'First Love' written by John Clare. In the first line alone, he says that he "ne'er was struck before that hour" of meeting his true love. John Clare, like Romeo, has had his ideas of love reverted within a moment. Both of these men express, through their words, express the speed at which love can work. This love, presented as so instant, affects the two men in very different ways. For John Clare this is painful as he can't express himself to his lover in the way that he would like. This may be because his love for her is unrequited exemplified by the stanza later on in the poem, "Is love's bed... snow?" John Clare subtly says that snow- its typical characteristics being hostile and bitter, implies that his lover is being like that too- unwilling. He also uses very powerful words in his poem like being "deadly pale" and "stole", adding to the emphasis to the ailments he befalls to upon seeing her. In stark contrast to this, Romeo is enlightened by Juliet's presence and presents this through the use of metaphors.

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