The Theme Of Love In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

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Thesis Question: How does Shakespeare develop the theme of love in this play-- that is: what is Shakespeare saying about love in this play and how does he show this?

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is almost always associated with the idea of romantic love, the passion and connection between two young lovers Romeo and Juliet. Separated by a raging family feud in the bustling Italian city of Verona, our story depicts a battle against the fate associated with idealistic love. Shakespeare effectively uses the characters and events in Romeo and Juliet to convey his personal perspective that love is flawed and fated and that we humans can never truly live ‘happily ever after’; fundamental human weakness destined to tear us apart.

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The recurring theme of fate undermines all which appears destined for success. From the opening address, the chorus states the lovers to be “star-crossed” (P.6), a fate which controls their lives and destiny. This theme is woven into much of the characters’ dialogue and musings as Shakespeare drives the concept of ‘acknowledged fate’ - wherein the characters seem aware of their inevitable downfall. Prior to attending the Capulet ball, Romeo conveys to the audience his fear that something “hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date”(1.4.108), premonition related directly to the prologue. Fate is not only fulfilled as a result of Romeo and Juliet’s actions, but by all events surrounding the lovers. Thinking that Juliet is dead, Romeo cries out, “Then I defy you stars” (5.1.24), declaring himself wholeheartedly opposed to the decrees of destiny that so grieve him. These events are not coincidences, but Shakespeare’s misanthropic manipulations of fate - ultimately spiralling the lovers towards the climactic failure of love; the double
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