You are on page 1of 4

Greenhalgh 1

Scott Greenhalgh
Mr. Hakim
English 9
28 April 2015
Romeo and Juliet Essay
As evident in many prolific works throughout history, love and
romance can sway a character towards everlasting happiness or utter
chaos. Shakespeare was one of the first to incorporate the idea of
loves beauty in danger in the play, Romeo and Juliet. In the tragedy,
Romeo, a youthful, nave, lovesick Montague, falls deeply in love with
Juliet, the beautiful, innocent daughter of the Capulets, the bitter rival
of the Montagues. As the play unfolds, Romeo and Juliet endure great
misfortune as they are doomed by their families vendetta, and both
fall as victims to suicide. Romeos actions and emotions change
dramatically as one unfortunate event occurs after another.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare describes Romeo as
distraught and depressed, cheerful and infatuated, and desperate and
In 1.1, Shakespeare develops Romeos character as distraught
and depressed using indirect characterization, especially in his actions
and speech. Romeos unrequited love for Rosaline is causing his deep
despair. Grieving over his unfulfilling and unstable relationship, Romeo
private in his chamber [,] pens himself, / Shuts up his windows, locks

Greenhalgh 2
fair daylight out, /And makes himself an artificial night (1.1.141-43).
Romeos seclusion from his family indicates that he is distraught and
does not know of any other way to deal with the situation. Romeo also
exhibits sadness in his speech. Romeo describes love with negativity
and admits that he grieves much: Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my
breast, / Which thou wilt propagate to have it pressed / With more of
thine. This love that thou hast shown / Doth add more grief to too
much of mine own (1.1.193-96). Romeo indicates that his dilapidated
relationship with Rosaline is adding too much grief, for most of the love
shown is his. Romeo is clearly depressed because of his relationship.
Romeos cheerful personality in Act 2 is the exact opposite of his
sadness in Act 1. Romeo dismisses his past feelings for Rosaline in
admiring Juliets beauty. In Act 2, Romeo is depicted as a cheerful man
who is deeply in love. In 2.3, Romeo openly states that he has forgot
[the] name Rosaline and the names woe (2.2.49). Romeos
dramatic change in his emotions indicates that he is no longer
depressed, and now cheerful for he has forgotten her. Romeo was
burdened with grief in Act 1, but his love for Juliet erased his past
thoughts. In 2.2, it is obvious that Romeo is entranced by Juliets
appearance. Romeo says See, how she leans her cheek upon her
hand! / O that I were a glove upon that hand, / That I might touch that
cheek! (2.2.24-26). Romeo is completely immersed in Juliets sheer
beauty, wishing that he would spend every moment by her side.

Greenhalgh 3
Romeo shows no sign of his despair and grief over Rosaline from Act 1,
but is now deeply infatuated with Juliet.
In Act 3, 4, and 5, Shakespeare develops Romeos infatuation for
Juliet even more, causing the confused Romeo to act in haphazard
desperation. Romeos love for Juliet remains steadfast, while his
emotions constantly reverse as a result of the consequences of being
in love. After Mercutios death, Romeo automatically retaliates with
vengeance because of his friends murder, And fire-eyed fury be my
conduct now! / Now, Tybalt, take the "villain" back again / That late
thou gave'st me, for Mercutio's soul / Is but a little way above our
heads, / Staying for thine to keep him company! / Either thou, or I, or
both, must go with him! (3.1.129-34).The death of Mercutio sparks
violent anger and ferocity in Romeo, one that has not been expressed
in the play before. Suddenly losing his bitter friend causes Romeo to
retaliate at Tybalt, and fatally kill him. Romeos love for Juliet caused
this tragedy because if Romeo had not attended the Capulet party,
Tybalt would not have revolted, and no one would be in danger.
Romeos love for Juliet causes him to act in further desperation later,
such as when he confronts Paris. In 5.3, Romeo threatens Paris with
hatred, By heaven I will tear thee joint by joint/And strew this hungry
churchyard with thy limbs! / The time and my intents are savagewild, / more fierce and more inexorable far / than empty tigers or the
roaring sea (5.3.35-39). When Romeo is visiting the Capulet tomb to

Greenhalgh 4
see Juliets supposedly dead body, Paris attempts to thwart his plan by
standing in his way. However, Paris presence is no mere obstacle for
Romeo, as Romeo threatens to kill Paris and decapitate his body in
order to reach Juliet. At this point in the story, Romeo is so depressed
and distraught and his only reason to live is to see Juliet, so he will
sacrifice anything and ruin his own morals just to die by her side.
Romeo is truly desperate and distraught by the end of the play.
Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Romeos personality changes from
depressed to cheerful to distraught. Romeos character is a result of his
foolhardy and haphazard decisions. Romeos character has been
influential to modern literature, plays, and movies. There are many
adaptations and forms of characters that derive from Romeos
character. Romeo and Juliet has been influential throughout history.