Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a tragic tale of two star crossed-lovers against a background of violence, hatred and conflict. The lovers of the tittle become victims of the ancient grudge which consumes and divides their two families. All these themes of love and hatred and the plays brooding scene of fate are developed, not only through character and action but also through Shakespeare's powerful imagery. My essay will examine in detail a verity of image groups and show how they reinforce the play key theme. Perhaps the dominant series of images concern light an dark. This is appropriate in a play which dramaticly contrasts love and hate. Romeo and Juliet's love shines forth against the dark feud which eventually engulfs them. For example:
when Romeo first sees Juliet he exclaims:
O, she doth teaches the torches to burn bright!
(line forty four in act one scene five)
Here Romeo is comparing Juliet to the torches which shine bright in the dark night and light usually represent good, but here Shakespeare's used dramatic irony as torches eventually go out and as the chorus tells us Juliet dies, she goes out like the torches. However Shakespeare also uses light in it's other meaning- the opposite of heavy. These references to light and heavy highlights the sudden shifts of moods in adolescence. The first occurrence of this image strand occurs in act two scene six, line sixteen when Friar Lawrence says to Romeo:
Here comes the lady. O so light a foot
Will ne'er wear out the ever lasting flint.
Shakespeare is very clever in using his imagery. Every imagery has a reason behind it and is used to express emotions and feeling of the actors. In act one scene two lines eighty-eight eighty-nine Benvolio uses a contrast in the same sentence when he is comparing Rosaline to a crow to make Romeo feel better he says:
Compare her face with some that i shall show
And i will make thee think thy swan a crow.
Romeo is having second thoughts of going to the Capulets party as Rosaline will be there. But Benvolio tells Romeo that there will be better and prettier women at the party than Rosaline and of course Juliet shines brighter than Rosaline and does make her look like a crow.
Shakespeare also uses a lot of images about the moon and stars in contrast with the sun. mostly Romeo and Juliet have the speech and refer to each other using sun, moon and stars images. When Romeo sees Juliet at her window he speaks to himself saying:
It is the east and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun and kill thy envious moon
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
(act two scene two, lines three - six)
Romeo here is contrasting Juliet to the moon. This basically brings in the light images and how Juliet is so bright and brings with her so much light that she outshines the moon and the moon envies this.
That runaway's eyes may wink,and Romeo
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