1:1;125 - 134, 202 - 231
Romeo's behaviour and his language when describing Rosaline
are typical of the courtly lover of poetry. Is Romeo really
in love with the idea of love, the concept of himself as a lover?
If so, is what he feels for Juliet any different? Look at his
behaviour and language later, in relation to Juliet.
"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." (1:5;49 -
Romeo's idea of love is dependant on what he sees; he has no
idea who Juliet is, what she is like as a person, but he "loves"
The chorus (Act 2) that they are "Alike bewitched by
the charm of looks" and Friar Lawrence is later to complain
"Young men's love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes." (2:3;67
1:5;90 - 103
This is presented as a sonnet, the traditional form for a love
poem. Do you think Shakespeare is making a statement about the
truth of their love in this way, or do you think he is showing
it to be a formalised, formulaic game?
"my life is my foe's debt" (1:5;115
"My only love ... loathed enemy."
(1:5;134 - 137)
Here Romeo & Juliet each discover the truth about the
other's identity. What do you make of their determination to
press on with the relationship, despite this knowledge?
Juliet is prepared to renounce her family for love of Romeo;
Romeo is risking his life even being there for love of Juliet.
Yet they barely know each other (Juliet admits that her "ears
have not yet drunk a hundred words" of Romeo's) What do
you make of this? Is it love at first sight or is it teenage
excitement? Does the mention of marriage and the fact that they
are both taking the idea seriously make a difference to how
you judge their feelings?
2:3;85 - 87
Maybe there's a clue here; when defending himself against the
Friar's charge of fickleness Romeo claims that the difference
between Juliet & Rosaline is that
"her I love now
Doth grace for grace, and love for love allow.
The other did not so."
Can we argue that this love may be real, as it is reciprocal?
Friar Lawrence is still sceptical, accusing Romeo of loving
from a manual -
"Thy love did read by rote, that could
not spell." (2:4;88)
By the end of Act 2 they are married. Remember the timescale
here; they met the previous night!
Romeo refuses a challenge from Tybalt because of his relationship
with Juliet, despite the fact that this makes him appear cowardly
and unmanly. This was a big deal; Mercutio refers to it as "calm,
dishonourable, vile submission" (3:1;69) This may indicate
the nature and extent of his feelings for her.
We see two Juliets here; compare the way Juliet is speaking
and behaving re. Romeo before she hears the news about Tybalt
with how she speaks and behaves afterwards. Do you notice anything
which might indicate the nature of her feelings? What do you
make of her conclusion at the end of 3:2?
What does Romeo think is the worst thing about being banished?
Is that helpful with regard to this essay?
Juliet rejects the Nurse's advice to marry Paris and pretend
the whole Romeo thing never happened. She says she'd rather
die than marry Paris and turns her back on her lifelong companion.
Any help with your decision?
1 - 3
Throughout these scenes Juliet is resolute in her decision
to follow the Friar's route to Romeo, despite its terrifying
possible consequences and her fears.
Romeo is equally resolute on hearing of the "death"
of Juliet. Ultimately each chooses death rather than life without
the other. What does this tell you?
This should guide you through the key points of the text that
are likely to be useful to you in your thinking. There isn't
a right or wrong answer to this question; you will get the marks
by presenting a clear, well argued case, well substantiated
by textual reference and quotation. Your answer should be technically
as well as factually accurate, so I'm looking for spelling,
punctuation, grammar and PARAGRAPHING. Your answers will also
benefit from sentence variety; check that you're not relying
on the same constructions all the time, especially with sentence
openings. Weaknesses in these areas WILL cost you marks!