Most the attitudes and feelings presented in Romeo and Juliet are closely linked to the themes presented in the play. The main themes of the play are developed by contrast and centre on love. These attitudes are different to the attitudes that are used today and that is why Shakespearean characters are seen to be more humorous than they are perhaps intended to be. In the opening scenes, three different kinds of love are portrayed. Sensual love is first presented in the vulgar jokes of Samson and Gregory, in the bawdy comments of the Nurse, and in Mercutio’s sexual jokes about Rosaline at the expense of Romeo.
After this a ‘love sick’ Romeo is shown, who is in love with idea of love, and believes that Rosaline is the girl of his dreams where in fact she is quite the opposite. He is the only person who is unaware of the shallowness of his love as it is purely sexual. The third type of love presented in the play is “Conventional Love”, this is when love is arranged by families who are looking for allies or something In return. Paris offers his rank in exchange for Juliet’s love; this is similar to Romeo’s feelings for Rosaline. He courteously requests for Juliet’s hand in marriage to Lord Capulet, even though his eyes had never met hers.
There is no emotion here, only convenience and proper social matching. Nevertheless, against this initial presentation, Romeo’s feelings towards Rosaline are thrown in the air when he and Juliet are first introduced to each other at the Capulet’s ball. He immediately forgets about his ‘artificial’ love towards Rosaline, as true love takes complete possession over his mind. But there are some opposite feelings shown also, which contrast all of the loving feelings. For example, in act 1 scene 1, Sampson and Gregory are taking a walk across the grounds where they live and they are having a casual conversation about sex.
Sampson talks about how women are the “weaker vessels”, this shows that he believes that men are superior to women. This depicts the attitude that many males had at this time. They both talk about what they are going to do to the Montague women. “Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads-take it in what sense thou wilt. ” What Sampson is saying here is that he is going to rape the Montague women and then cut off their heads. The word maidenhead used to mean virginity, so he what he has said has 2 meanings.
The way in which he nonchalantly says these remarks would make it seem that this sort of joking was tolerable banter between young men at this time. Shakespeare also presents this chauvinistic view towards women by using extended metaphors and imagery. There is an ongoing link to natural things, such as when the head of the Capulet household says to the other male characters at his party, “Inherit the delights of fresh female buds. ” This kind of natural imagery is used by Shakespeare to present the natural beauty of women; the word ‘delights implied that they are special and are there to be enjoyed.
Also the term ‘fresh female buds’ implies that they are young, and ready to blossom into something more mature. This natural imagery implies that were the women are still beautiful, they are still to be used in a way that the servants would do. This is yet another technique used by Shakespeare; he uses certain people at different levels in the societal hierarchy as symbols to show the array of views throughout society. However, Capulet does not sound as crude as Sampson and Gregory did previously, this was an acceptable view to have towards women at the time in society where as it is unacceptable now.
Shakespeare continues with his extended metaphor of nature later on the story, when Capulet is talking to Paris about him giving away her hand in marriage. He thinks that his daughter is not yet ‘ripe to be a bride. ‘ This immediately suggests to the audience that she is being compared to a fruit, which again is something wonderful and beautiful. On the other hand, Capulet is very aware that early ‘arranged’ marriage can turn sour eventually just like fruit. This is also shown in the quote “too soon marred are those two early made.
” When Capulet says this in the Zefferelli film, he looks across to his wife, who gives him a significant sour look. This dramatic technique shows the resentment between Lady Capulet and Capulet and we know he is talking from experience of his own arranged marriage. Sampson and Gregory also talk about how they are always up for fights with the Montague servants, Sampson says, “I will push Montagues men from the wall… ” This is a metaphor presenting his hatred towards Montagues. It suggests humiliation of the opposite family because by pushing them from the walls in the streets.
Sampson goes onto say “… and I will thrust his maids to the wall. ” This is a pun, which also denotes embarrassment, this time of the opposite sex. The pun is made clear through sexual gestures made by Sampson. This is a dramatic technique used by Zefferelli to emphasise Sampson’s violent sexual nature. Moreover, I believe that Shakespeare is specifically showing how men treated women at the time of the play and to some extent, still are, treated as objects that are to be used purely for the sexual pleasure of the male species. There is a contrast of moods throughout the play.
The mood created by the love between Romeo and Juliet is bright, happy, and romantic. The prevailing mood of Verona is ugly, harsh, and cruel, as evidenced in the needless conflict between the Capulets and Montagues and the action of those touched by the conflict. The death of Romeo and Juliet creates a mood of tragedy and despair. Shakespeare is always changing the moods presented within the play; however they still all mainly revolve around love. One of the play’s most consistent visual motifs is the contrast between light and dark, often in terms of night/day imagery.
This contrast is not given a particular metaphoric meaning-light is not always good, and dark is not always evil. On the contrary, light and dark are generally used to provide a sensory contrast and to hint at opposed alternatives. One of the more important instances of this motif is Romeo’s lengthy meditation on the sun and the moon during the balcony scene, in which Juliet is metaphorically described as the sun. Shakespeare presents the prince as being very demanding and intelligent; this is shown when he says “throw your mistempered weapons to the ground”.
Using the word mistempered acts as a pun, so therefore shows his intelligence and anger that he is feeling at the time. The word ‘mistempered’ has two meanings, one of which is that the weapons were used in anger and the other is that they have been made for the wrong reason. He may have done this as a gateway so that he can get some of his views across into the play. One of the main ways that Shakespeare presents Romeo and Juliet’s true love is through his use of metaphors and contrasting similes. For example in the famous balcony scene the audience really gets to see how Romeo’s feelings have changed.
The imagery of light and darkness are very important to the play and particularly to this scene. When Romeo felt he was in love with Rosaline, his mood was dark and gloomy because she was cold like the moon, however now that he has met, and is in love with Juliet, his mood becomes a lot more bright and warm, we know this because he compares Juliet to the sum, which suggests that know she is in his life, he feels warmer. Again Romeo is personifying the planets, which reminds the audience of the Greek mythology theme, this makes their love seem magical and out of this world.
He also compares her to an angel, which is developing the religious symbol that was seen during their first meeting, which also suggests that their love pure, and is destiny. This reference to an angel in the dark, “As glorious to this night… as is a winged messenger from heaven”, is an obvious contrast between dark and bright. This extended metaphor supports the idea that he feels warm and bright now she is in his life. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses a variety of metaphors, extended metaphors and comparative similes, these are use to portray the in-depth imagery.
The main image that is used in Romeo and Juliet is a natural one, and it is mainly used to portray the beauty of the females in society. However, a twist is put upon the image: Sampson and Gregory talk about the beauty of women in a vulgar and violent sense. This is to show their violent and chauvinistic nature, as well as their sexual desires. These two characters symbolise and stereotype males during this period in society. Shakespeare also uses them to emphasise male dominance. The audience gets an impression of patriarchal society in general; this is because the same chauvinistic views are shown at both ends of the hierarchical system.
The servants, Sampson and Gregory, share the same opinions as Lord Capulet. Romeo and Juliet show the true love that two people can share. They are presented as a constant contrast of light and dark. When they didn’t have each other everything was dark and the mood was bad, however when they found each other the mood of the overall play as well as the characters brightens. Shakespeare does this to show the audience that love is not about money, status or any other conventional things; but true love is about devoted couple who share equal power. I believe that Shakespeare did this to try and educate society at the time.