Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scenes 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Love and Passion • Act 1, Scene 2. • Paris displays his attitude towards love: That it is fulfilled not by passion, but by the calmer pleasures of motherhood. • He wants to marry her young, but Capulet tells him that she is not yet “ripe” and requires another couple of years before marriage. • Imagery • Juliet’s ‘ripeness’ to be a bride is talked of in the same breath as summer ‘withering’. Montague also talks about Romeo being blighted like a bud bitten like a worm. These hints in the imagery prepare you for the tragedy that is to come. The love of Romeo and Juliet is full of promise and hope for the future, but it will be blighted and doomed by fate. • Youth and plants are related throughout the play. They are both characterised by early and vigerous growth and are charming and innocent as they ripen. Old age is characterisaed by canker, infirmity, callousness, guilt and a lack of understanding.
Love and Passion. (1.2) In this act, we see Romeo prepare to see his love, Rosaline. This is after they have found out about the feast, which is a masquerade. Benvolio reminds him that there will be many other beautiful women at the feast and uses imagery to compare Rosaline to a Black Crow, juxtaposed to the White Swans of the feast – another example of the light/dark imagery that is used throughout the play. His remarks also prepares the audience for Romeo’s first meeting with Juliet. Act 1, Scene 3. STRUCTURE:The Nurse’s bawdy jokes and her emphasis on physical lust act as an important balance to the later idealised and innocent love of Romeo and Juliet and to the formal and rather artificial love of Paris. Mercutio and the Nurse are both important characters for Shakespeare’s structure of the play. They both balance Romeo and Juliet respectively and their serious ideas of love. Scenes like this act as ‘light relief’ to the tragedy that ensues.
Love and Passion. In 1.3, Lady Capulet also shows her ideas of love. She urges Juliet to marry Paris so that she can “share all that he doth possess.” – What does this tell us about her character? She sees marriage as a sharing of position and wealth rather than a sharing of love. Mercutio also shows his opinion of love. It is far more vulgar than Romeo’s and – in some ways more realistic – as he sees it revolve around physical passion.
Language Act 1, Scene 2. Benvolio and Romeo – when they meet the illiterate servant – speak to one another in verse. The servant speaks in prose. This highlights the fact that because he speaks in prose, he is of a lower status. Noble characters speak mostly in prose when they are speaking to, or about, ‘lower’ things. Act 1, Scene 3. Language also shoes us the differences between the Nurse and Lady Capulet. Scenes 1 and 2 or about the world of men, whereas Scene 3 is about the world as it affects women. We also find out in this scene the close relationship the Nurse and Juliet share – The Nurse was Juliet’s wet-nurse. Her daughter, Susan, died young and the Juliet replaced her in the Nurse’s affections. The nurse’s language is bawdy and full of sexual innuendo – keep this in mind. >> What else does this tell us about the Nurse?
Fate Act 1, Scene 4 Romeo appears to foresee his own death here, a “consequence yet hanging in the stars” (1.4.107) as he calls it. He calls upon the one” that hath steerage” of his “course” – he who guides the path of his life – to direct him safely. The sea is often used by Shakespeare as a symbol of the powerful and unpredictable forces of fate and the audience already know that Romeo’s fate is fixed, for he is ‘star-crossed’. This scene ends with a sense of foreboding but Shakespeare uses the opening of the following scene to relieve the tension.