Romeo And Juliet: The Most Persuasive Celebration Of Romantic Love In Western Literature

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Shakespeare’s play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is regarded as one of the most significant and widely read playwrights. Matter of fact, according to scholar Harold Bloom, it is “the most persuasive celebration of romantic love in Western literature.” The contribution with diverse events has portrayed a twisted romance, although the timeless play presents the viewers with tragic themes governing human existence revealing life lessons that are still applicable in our lives today. The use of antithetical language between the characters shows how the writer, William Shakespeare, has set out the play in such a manner to describe how not all stories end on a good note. Romeo and Juliet is classified as a tragedy, but in some respects the play deviates from the genre to make the audience feel mixed emotions. Shakespeare has escaped the typical setting of his famous poets, such as Macbeth and Julius Caesar, which concern with a noble character who have displayed actions that have widespread consequences. Instead, we follow the two teenagers as they fall in love with each other, enlarging the constant feud between the Montagues and Capulets, and recounting that the power of patriarchy will always fall into place.

I found myself beginning to question the impact that this all-time classic had on our society today. What was it about this renowned play that continuously captured the audience’s attention? The love hate correlation is an aspect of the issue, the overarching power of patriarchy, which is communicated throughout the plot. It has been revealed to us that the male characters in Romeo and Juliet have significantly impacted on how the story unfolds, and most of the significant decisions are made by the men. For much of human history, the persistence of male domination was so norm in society that the power of patriarchy was not identified as a relevant concept. In a patriarchal society, women are expected to thrive to societal conventions by demonstrating their loyalty and obedience to the males in their lives. Shakespeare’s tragic play, explores the influence that the patriarchal authority has, which exerts over women and how patriarchal structure has led to catastrophic feuds and deaths. With women having a lack of freedom and decision during the Elizabethan era, the story was appropriate to the time period.

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Act 1 Scene 5 holds a special significance in the play. In the great hall of the Capulets, the night is busy. Romeo sees Juliet from across the room, and asks the serving man who she is. The serving man doesn’t know. Rosaline has vanished from Romeo’s mind and he admits that he has not found love until the star-crossed lovers connect. Meeting Romeo drastically changes Juliet to a new sense of maturity. In her famous speech, she declares to abandon her family and ‘no longer be a Capulet.’

She successfully rebels against her father’s authority to give her love to Romeo. Juliet’s character is built off new experiences and knowledge, which allows her to acquire new traits. Most importantly, this allows her to escape from the restrictive boundaries of patriarchy.

Just by comparing the power of patriarchy during the Elizabethan era to today, I can see how our society has evolved according to equity and justice. This issue has been recognised over the centuries, as women have spoken out loud, including movements and campaigns, to get their ideas across. While there is still significant progress to be made, the achievements of the feminist movement and behavioural change in attitude towards women’s rights has truly impacted on human civilisation. In relation to Juliet unable to accommodate her own feelings and thoughts for her basic life choices, I feel the need to sympathise with her. The role of a patriarchal society in Romeo and Juliet tells us just how biased the values were during that time. Shakespeare’s play continues to thrive because of how our society can sometimes feel like it’s arranged in the structure of patriarchy.


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