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William Shakespeare is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of English literature. Romeo and Juliet is considered one of Shakespeare?s most popular plays of all time. It is a compelling and timeless drama about innocent, young lovers separated by their feuding families. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Montague is the tragic hero. As the play develops, Romeo grows from boyhood to manhood through his change from lust to love.
In the beginning of the play, Romeo is a little boy moaning over love. Sad because he is not with the women he believes he loves, ?Bid a sick man in sadness make his will. Ah, word ill urged to one that is so ill!? . Never experiencing the true meaning of love; he prances around, acting as if he knows of true love. For example, He explains his emotions to be, ?A madness most discreet, A choking gall, and a preserving sweet?
(I, i, 191-192). He believes he is in love with Rosaline, ?I do love a woman? but is only lust from a young man ( I, i, 203). It is lust because Romeo is easily persuaded by Benvolio to go to the Capulet ball to look upon other beautiful ladies, ?Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves; With all the admired beauties of Verona. Go thither, and with unattainted eye Compare her face with some that I shall show, And I will make thee think they swan a crow? (I, ii, 85-89). Romeo enters the Capulet ball where he meets Juliet.
At the ball, Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, ?What lady?s that, which doth enrich the hand/Of yonder knight?? (I, iv, 41-42). There is no turning back for him now. He does feel something, ?Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/For I ne?er saw true beauty till this night? (I, v, 51-52). Is it love at first sight? He is quick in his confession of love towards Juliet. It is not love but lust because hours before those same feelings were devoted to Rosaline, ?She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow/Do I live dead that live to tell it now? (I, i, 221-222). Romeo is still young and wild at heart. His emotions are uncontrollable. He is not mature enough to know what he is feeling.
Romeo chases Juliet to the balcony, and speaks softly to himself as he see her, ?Her vestal livery is but sick and green, And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off? (II, i, 7-8), which has sexual meaning. Interpreted means, ?You don?t look good in those clothes so Take them off!?. This is an example of lust at its highest peak. Also in the balcony scene, as Juliet is being called upon by the nurse, Romeo says, ?O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied,? also being of sexual context (II, ii, 125). In astonishment, Juliet replies, ?What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?? (II, ii, 126). Romeo replies back, ?Th? exchange of thy love?s faithful vow for mine? (II, ii, 127). Only knowing Juliet for a matter of hours; he confesses his love, and has already forgot about Rosaline, ?No. I have forgot that name and that name?s woe? (II, iii, 46). Wanting to marry Juliet, Romeo goes to Friar Lawrence for help, ?I?ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray, That thou consent to marry us to-day.? (II, iii, 63-64). From this point, it does show that Romeo is starting to get serious about his affections towards Juliet.
Without consent from their parents, Romeo and Juliet get married. The true Romeo is starting to emerge as he steps up to the manly responsibilities of marriage. After being married, Romeo is confronted by Tybalt. Romeo hesitates in fighting him, ?I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise. Till thou shalt know the reason of my love; And so, good Capulet, which name I tender/ As dearly as mine own, be satisfied,? because Tybalt is family to him now (III, i, 68-71). This is where Romeo shows the deepest passions of love towards Juliet. Fighting is the last thing on his mind. He does not permit himself to fight Tybalt because of his love towards Juliet. Tybalt, the villain he is, pushes Romeo into fighting him by killing Romeo?s bestfriend, Mercutio. Romeo slays Tybalt, and is thereby banished by the Prince, ?Immediately we do exile him hence? (III, i, 185). After Romeo finds out about his banishment he falls to the floor of Friar Lawrence?s cell in despair, ?Tis torture, and not mercy. Heaven is here, Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog And little mouse, every unworthy thing, Live here in heaven and may look on her; But Romeo may not,? showing how much he truly does love Juliet for if he can not see her; he rather die (III, iii, 29-33). He can not love Juliet anymore than he already does. Instead of leaving, Romeo risks his life to stay in Verona with Juliet, ?I have more care to stay than will to go? (III, v, 23). And if she asks him, without hesitation he would surely stay longer.
At this point, Romeo?s ability to die for Juliet comes as no surprise. Upon hearing of Juliet?s death, ?Her body sleeps in Capel?s monument,? and with the words, ?I defy you, stars;? Romeo takes fate firmly in his hands and determines the time and manner of his own death (V, i, 17/V, i, 24). In the very shortness of his words, and speed of his actions lies Romeo?s true character. Romeo does not pause to think about what has just happened but with unwavering courage he goes to search out his true love in death, ?Juliet, I will lie with thee to-night (V, i, 35). Juliet, and the love for her has become life for him, and without Juliet there can be nothing but death in living.
Romeo goes to the tomb to die with Juliet, ?Here, here will I remain/With worms that are thy chambermaids. O, here/Will I set up my everlasting rest/And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars? (V, iii, 108-111). His passion now absorbs itself in dying, as it did before in loving Juliet. ?Here?s to my love,? as he drinks the poison prepared by the apothecary; he can finally rest with his true love in heaven.
William Shakespeare?s, Romeo and Juliet is a compelling and timeless drama about love in its purest form. Romeo Montague makes the biggest sacrifice anyone can make; his life. Romeo dies for true love, and in dying, his passion and love for Juliet has reached its ultimate peak. Romeo will truly stay the male symbol of passionate love until the end of time.