Trace and discuss the development of Romeo and Juliet from young adolescents to tragic heroes at the end of the play

Romeo is the young son of the Montagues. The first impressions we get of him are as a moody adolescent who has refused to inform his parents of his reason for spending ‘many a morning’ in the ‘covet of the wood’. He later tells his friends Benvolio and Mercutio that he is madly infatuated with the ‘fair Rosaline’ but that his love is unrequited, which is the cause of his despondency. His first speeches show how artificial his love is, as they are extravagant and hyperbolic, such as ‘she hath Dian’s wit’ as Dian is the Goddess of hunting who avoided Cupid’s arrows. This makes us think that Romeo’s feelings are not too deep for Rosaline speaking his words are spoken from the mind, not the heart and in more in love with the idea of being in love.It is only once he has met Juliet that we see the real Romeo. We can see this in many ways, firstly through the language he uses. The first time he sees Juliet at the Capulet’s party, he says’O she doth teach the torches to burn brightIt seems she hang upon the cheek of nightAs a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear -Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!’His speech shows a new tenderness and awe in it, which we have not seen before, showing Romeo’s change from a shallow unreciprocated love, to love binding love which will last till his death. He discards his formality of his speech, and speaks in poetic blank verse, coming straight from his heart.When they next meet in Capulet’s Orchard, Romeo’s language is imaginative and poetic, as it always has been, yet this time it paints a beautiful picture. His language couched in the traditional conventional courtly lover of that time, constantly using aetherial images showing how he feels as if he is in heaven.’Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,Having some business, do entreat her eyesTo twinkle in their spheres till they return.’We can also see the extent of Romeo’s love by the way he devotes himself entirely to her, the only exception being the fight with Tybalt. He abandons his former companions, Benvolio and Mercutio, to risk his life entering Capulet’s garden over the ‘orchard walls’, which ‘are high and hard to climb.’Up until the news of Juliet’s death reaches him, we saw the childish ways of Romeo, impetuous and rash. His childish emotions are shown when he learns of his banishment:’Ha, banishment? Be merciful, say ‘death’:For exile hath more terror in his look,Much more than death. Do not say banishment!’He cannot see a way round the problem, and refuses to hide when someone knocks at the door, and even threatens suicide, showing the audience just how young he still is.Through Juliet starving Romeo of his imagery, he becomes more direct.(Romeo): What shall I swear by?(Juliet): Do not swear at all;Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,Which is the god of my idolatryAnd I’ll believe thee.The result of this is shown when he hears of his young wife. Romeo shows maturity when he acts in a practical manner, without hesitation, a quality we would have previously not associated with him. He shows this when giving Balthasar clear instructions.’Hold, take this letter; early in the morningsee thou deliver it to my lord and father.’Juliet, the only daughter of the Capulets, is ‘fortnight and odd days’ off being fourteen.Her first appearance in the play is in Act 1 Scene 3, where she shows the obedience to her mother, ‘Madam, I am here, what is your will?’ and her innocence when she tells her mother that she does not yet know the meaning of love but will ‘look to like, if looking liking move.’Juliet matures greatly throughout the play, and the first signs are shown when she confesses her love for Romeo, who she had met that night. She possesses a new elegance to her speech, which is completely different from the short simple answers of the submissive Juliet we had been introduced to, contrasting with Romeo’s elaborate style. This is shown when she says’What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,By any other word would smell as sweet.’Her modesty shows that she is not as innocent as we had originally thought, as she is embarrassed that Romeo has heard her confess her love so rashly that she is scared he will think that she is too forthcoming.’Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face,Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheekFor that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.’She demonstrates a remarkable practicality, considering she has led a sheltered life under the Nurse’s care up until now. While Romeo confesses his love to her, she demands a time and place for their wedding.(Juliet): ‘Romeo!(Romeo): My Ni�sse?(Juliet): What a’clock tomorrowShall I send to thee?In Act 3 Scene 2, we see the child Juliet for the last time. In her epithalamium, she frankly speaks her mind, like a child, and showing her innocence.’Lovers can see to do their amorous ritesBy their own beauties, or if love be blindIt best agrees with night.’In the following scenes, we see Juliet developing through her love for Romeo. She is forced to abandon her Nurse, who has been her mother, as she fails to appreciate the extent of her love for Romeo. As she takes Lady Capulet’s side, ‘I think it best you married with the Country,’ she is forced to take risks, rebelling against the family feud. We see how sophisticated Juliet has grown up to be, as she is able to deceive her parents. She is able to control her emotions externally to those who know her best, as when speaking to her father’Where I have learnt me to repent the sinOf disobedient oppositionTo you and your behests, and am enjoinedBy holy Lawrence to fall prostrate hereTo beg your pardon.’Her speech before she takes the potion is effectively her death speech, where she shows her love and faith for Romeo. Her speech gives us glimpses of Juliet the child, as she her mind fills with fears being ‘stifled in the vault’, which are not thought through.’How if, when I am laid into the tombI wake before the time that RomeoCome redeem me?’She shows here her courage and how she is driven by her love for Romeo, overcoming all these fears for her love for her husband.Juliet’s final words in the play show the new woman that she is, acting with great calmness when faced with death.’…Then I’ll be brief. O happy daggerThis is thy sheath; there rust and let me die.’Both Romeo and Juliet are tragic heroes as they reach their deaths. Their qualities, which make them great, are their downfall. As both are headstrong, and forced to make rash decisions against their family and society, and above all their love, which comes before everything else, makes them great heroes, yet this is the flaw in their characters, through which they are destroyed.

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Romeo is the young son of the Montagues. The first impressions we get of him are as a moody adolescent who has refused to inform his parents of his reason for spending ‘many a morning’ in the ‘covet of the wood’. He later tells his friends Benvolio and Mercutio that he is madly infatuated with the ‘fair Rosaline’ but that his love is unrequited, which is the cause of his despondency. His first speeches show how artificial his love is, as they are extravagant and hyperbolic, such as ‘she hath Dian’s wit’ as Dian is the Goddess of hunting who avoided Cupid’s arrows. This makes us think that Romeo’s feelings are not too deep for Rosaline speaking his words are spoken from the mind, not the heart and in more in love with the idea of being in love.It is only once he has met Juliet that we see the real Romeo. We can see this in many ways, firstly through the language he uses. The first time he sees Juliet at the Capulet’s party, he says’O she doth teach the torches to burn brightIt seems she hang upon the cheek of nightAs a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear -Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!’His speech shows a new tenderness and awe in it, which we have not seen before, showing Romeo’s change from a shallow unreciprocated love, to love binding love which will last till his death. He discards his formality of his speech, and speaks in poetic blank verse, coming straight from his heart.When they next meet in Capulet’s Orchard, Romeo’s language is imaginative and poetic, as it always has been, yet this time it paints a beautiful picture. His language couched in the traditional conventional courtly lover of that time, constantly using aetherial images showing how he feels as if he is in heaven.’Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,Having some business, do entreat her eyesTo twinkle in their spheres till they return.’We can also see the extent of Romeo’s love by the way he devotes himself entirely to her, the only exception being the fight with Tybalt. He abandons his former companions, Benvolio and Mercutio, to risk his life entering Capulet’s garden over the ‘orchard walls’, which ‘are high and hard to climb.’Up until the news of Juliet’s death reaches him, we saw the childish ways of Romeo, impetuous and rash. His childish emotions are shown when he learns of his banishment:’Ha, banishment? Be merciful, say ‘death’:For exile hath more terror in his look,Much more than death. Do not say banishment!’He cannot see a way round the problem, and refuses to hide when someone knocks at the door, and even threatens suicide, showing the audience just how young he still is.Through Juliet starving Romeo of his imagery, he becomes more direct.(Romeo): What shall I swear by?(Juliet): Do not swear at all;Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,Which is the god of my idolatryAnd I’ll believe thee.The result of this is shown when he hears of his young wife. Romeo shows maturity when he acts in a practical manner, without hesitation, a quality we would have previously not associated with him. He shows this when giving Balthasar clear instructions.’Hold, take this letter; early in the morningsee thou deliver it to my lord and father.’Juliet, the only daughter of the Capulets, is ‘fortnight and odd days’ off being fourteen.Her first appearance in the play is in Act 1 Scene 3, where she shows the obedience to her mother, ‘Madam, I am here, what is your will?’ and her innocence when she tells her mother that she does not yet know the meaning of love but will ‘look to like, if looking liking move.’Juliet matures greatly throughout the play, and the first signs are shown when she confesses her love for Romeo, who she had met that night. She possesses a new elegance to her speech, which is completely different from the short simple answers of the submissive Juliet we had been introduced to, contrasting with Romeo’s elaborate style. This is shown when she says’What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,By any other word would smell as sweet.’Her modesty shows that she is not as innocent as we had originally thought, as she is embarrassed that Romeo has heard her confess her love so rashly that she is scared he will think that she is too forthcoming.’Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face,Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheekFor that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.’She demonstrates a remarkable practicality, considering she has led a sheltered life under the Nurse’s care up until now. While Romeo confesses his love to her, she demands a time and place for their wedding.(Juliet): ‘Romeo!(Romeo): My Ni�sse?(Juliet): What a’clock tomorrowShall I send to thee?In Act 3 Scene 2, we see the child Juliet for the last time. In her epithalamium, she frankly speaks her mind, like a child, and showing her innocence.’Lovers can see to do their amorous ritesBy their own beauties, or if love be blindIt best agrees with night.’In the following scenes, we see Juliet developing through her love for Romeo. She is forced to abandon her Nurse, who has been her mother, as she fails to appreciate the extent of her love for Romeo. As she takes Lady Capulet’s side, ‘I think it best you married with the Country,’ she is forced to take risks, rebelling against the family feud. We see how sophisticated Juliet has grown up to be, as she is able to deceive her parents. She is able to control her emotions externally to those who know her best, as when speaking to her father’Where I have learnt me to repent the sinOf disobedient oppositionTo you and your behests, and am enjoinedBy holy Lawrence to fall prostrate hereTo beg your pardon.’Her speech before she takes the potion is effectively her death speech, where she shows her love and faith for Romeo. Her speech gives us glimpses of Juliet the child, as she her mind fills with fears being ‘stifled in the vault’, which are not thought through.’How if, when I am laid into the tombI wake before the time that RomeoCome redeem me?’She shows here her courage and how she is driven by her love for Romeo, overcoming all these fears for her love for her husband.Juliet’s final words in the play show the new woman that she is, acting with great calmness when faced with death.’…Then I’ll be brief. O happy daggerThis is thy sheath; there rust and let me die.’Both Romeo and Juliet are tragic heroes as they reach their deaths. Their qualities, which make them great, are their downfall. As both are headstrong, and forced to make rash decisions against their family and society, and above all their love, which comes before everything else, makes them great heroes, yet this is the flaw in their characters, through which they are destroyed.

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