Beauty In Romeo And Juliet

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In the 1960s portrayal of Romeo and Juliet, the two characters are barely able to stay away from each other, much less have a proper conversation without yielding to physical affection. Much of their time together is spent hugging, kissing, and practicing oblivion to the world around them. Romeo drones on about Juliet’s beauty in multiple scenes, reflecting that “The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars . . ” (Shakespeare 2.2.19-20) and “ . . . Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear” (1.5.54). We know that this is not the first time he has used these descriptive phrases; for Rosaline, he claimed the same, and yet Juliet is ignorant of his fickle affections and charmed by his eloquently-phrased declarations.

Then, when events take a tragic turn and she finds Romeo, dead of his own tragic flaw, passionate impetuousness, Juliet indulges in this mistake herself and commits suicide. Once again, she thinks only of her “need” to be with him and not of the effects on the others who closely share her life. She is blinded by her single-minded love for this fickle boy who loved another only hours before.

In this respect, romantic love can never
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Romeo clearly subscribes to that belief, as can be seen when he states that his love for Juliet had made him “effeminate.” Once again, however, this statement can be seen as a battle between the private world of love and the public world of honor, duty, and friendship. The Romeo who duels with Tybalt is the Romeo who Mercutio would call the “true” Romeo. The Romeo who sought to avoid confrontation out of concern for his wife is the person Juliet would recognize as her loving Romeo. The word effeminate is applied by the public world of honor upon those things it does not respect. In using the term to describe his present state, Romeo accepts the responsibilities thrust upon him by the social institutions of honor and family
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