Romeo and Juliet Essay
Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by Shakespeare and it is thought to have been written in 1595 or 1596. The play is set in the city of Verona. It is a tragic love story and the love between Romeo and Juliet eventually killed them in the end. Romeo and Juliet were responsible for their own destiny and from the start to the end they their love remains strong.
The young lovers Romeo and Juliet are both from families who hated each other for centuries. Their love causes many tragic events to occur as they are from a family of Capulet and Montague. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic story of a forbidden love due to their families’ strong objection to their love. The two young lovers’ untimely death ultimately united their feuding families.
“William Shakespeare was born allegedly on April 23, 1564 in Stratford- Upon-Avon. The church records of Holy Trinity show that he was baptized on April 26th, 1564. In reality” (Shakespeare’s Birth para. 1) the actual date of Shakespeare’s birthday is unknown. William Shakespeare father was John Shakespeare who was a Glover and leather merchant. His mother was Mary Aden who was a landed local heiress. According to the church register of Holy trinity, William Shakespeare was the third of eight children.
Little is known about Shakespeare’s education and it is alleged that he probably attended the endowed grammar school of Stratford where he learned “little Latin and less Greek” as referred by Ben Johnson. In 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years his senior. In 1587, Shakespeare left his family to pursue his dreams in London where joined Burbage’s company of players. Shakespeare poems marked the beginning of his success.
His poem “Venus and Adonis” became immensely popular in London. After this he wrote a succession of wonderful plays, – Merchant of Venice, As you like it, twelfth night, Julius Ceaser , Hamlet, Mac Beth, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra etc. “At the time of Shakespeare’s death twenty- one plays existed in manuscripts in various theaters” (William).
There are many controversies as to when exactly Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. Apart from this, many historians are claiming that the works of Shakespeare are really the work of Edward de Vere. “Many Oxfordians believe that the true author of Shakespeare’s plays was an aristocrat named Edward De Vere” (History of Doubts Surrounding the Authorship of Shakespeare’s Works). Edward de Vere was the 17th Earl of Oxford and was born in 1550. He graduated from Cambridge University at a tender age of 14.
The theories that the work of Shakespeare’s was that of Edward de Vere was based on the upbringing , knowledge , education and many of the similarities of works between the two writer. Many historians believed that the Edward De Vere wrote plays and sonnets under the pseudonym of Shakespeare. Despite all these allegations and theories, there is no concrete proof to that Edward de Vere was the real author of Shakespeare’s plays as many of Shakespeare’s plays were written after the death of Edward De Vere.
In Romeo and Juliet, the development of characters eventually led to the tragedy of the main characters. The characters developed throughout the story. In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to a young girl Juliet. Juliet is the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. The development of Juliet in the play is the most dynamic as she undergoes a huge transformation in terms of love, loyalty and maturity. At the beginning of the play Juliet is a carefree and innocent girl who is not ready to settle down in life.
When her nurse jokes about the sexual life of marriage to Juliet, Juliet goes on to tell the nurse that ‘It is an honor that I have not dreamt of’ “(Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5). From this we can see that Juliet is not ready to marry yet and has not taken the responsibility of settling down in life. Juliet in the beginning shows no intention of marrying and has not taken the responsibility of fulfilling her parents wish.
Juliet rapidly evolves into a mature young lady and transforms into a determined, sober-minded woman in the four day span in the play. Her sense of loyalty to her parents is shown in her dutiful determination to try to love Paris, her fiancée, “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move” (Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5). She is an obedient who is respectfully to her mother and sensible towards her parents need, “Madam, I am here, / what is your will?” (Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5).
Juliet rapidly transform from a carefree young girl to a lady after she falls in love with Romeo. She no longer feels the need to comply her parents wish or the need to sacrifice her happiness for her parents. She revolts against her parents by and stands by her decision to die rather than marry a person whom she does not love: “If all else fail, myself have power to die”(Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5 244). Her love for Romeo makes her defy her parents wish.
In her relationship with Romeo, Juliet gives her all and is loving, faithful and strong. She is the one who suggests that they get married even without their parents’ approval. Often times, Romeo is rash in decision, but Juliet always seems to be clear headed. Her maturity is seen in the balcony scene of Act 11, scene 2, when she comments about the rashness of their love “It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden.”
Juliet lives under the control of a patriarch. She has very little freedom and is completely dependent on her father. However, she is prepared to leave everything dear to her life and marry her lover Romeo. She matures throughout the play and abandons her family to be with Romeo.
Juliet bravery is noteworthy as she is a mere child of 14 years old. She makes logical decision and does not rush to anything. Even when Romeo kills Tybalt in his rash decision, Juliet takes time to think about her decision to marry Romeo. She does not blindly follow Romeo when she makes a decision that her guiding priorities should be her true love, Romeo.
After a lot of thinking and reflecting, she finally awakes from her prior social life – the nurse, her parents as well as her social standing in Verona to reunite with her lover. When Juliet wakes from her sleep in the tomb to find her husband dead, she stabs herself with a dagger out of the intensity of her love for Romeo. Juliet development from an innocent, naïve girl to a strong, independent woman is one of Shakespeare triumph in characterization.
The love of Romeo and Juliet is a remarkable love as they have to undergo many obstacles to be united. Many good things come out of their love as their death finally united the family of Capulet and Montague. It is a tragedy that their families have to find out through the death of the young lovers that love always triumphs. The death of Romeo and Juliet finally end the bitter feud between the Capulet and Montague. The Chorus also reminds us that “their death [will] bury their parents’ strife,” (Shakespeare & Pearce 204).
History of Doubts Surrounding the Authorship of Shakespeare’s Works. Oxford Society. 1995. Web.
Pearce, Joseph. Romeo and Juliet: William Shakespeare. Lgnatius Press. San Francisco. 2011. Web.
Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 5. Shakespeare Navigator. n.d. Web.
Shakespeare’s Birth. Amanda Mabillard. 1999. Web.
William, J. Long. English literature: Its History and Significance. BiblioBazaar, 2007. Print.
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