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"Romeo & Juliet" By William Shakespeare. How Does The Character Of Romeo Change Throughout The Course Of The Play?

1310 words - 6 pages

When we are first introduced to Romeo in the play, we already know a little about him, and of his family background. He is being discussed by his parents and his cousin, Benvolio, all of whom are concerned by his reclusive, depressed manner. We learn that he has been acting in a manner obviously out of character to him, going on solitary walks early in the morning"with tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew"and shutting himself away from his family. At this point, neither the reader nor characters know the cause of his melancholy. In the middle of the conversation, however, Romeo appears, and Benvolio resolves to discover what is tormenting him. As they talk, it becomes clear that Romeo's ...view middle of the document...

"However, despite all this protestations that he can never cease to love Rosaline, Romeo completely changes his mind very soon. After discovering the Capulets are having a party that Rosaline is attending, his friends persuade him to go, and there he first sees Juliet. Immediately all thought of Rosaline leaves his mind and even before he has spoken to her, he is besotted with her beauty alone and begins to rhapsodise about her beauty rather than Rosaline's."I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."This comes as a slight shock to the reader after all his moping over Rosaline, and make Romeo seem insincere, unreliable and flighty, caring for no one but himself. He proceeds to unashamedly chat up Juliet, resulting in the two kissing. He is at once convinced he loves Juliet and decides that he never loved Rosaline.Despite this fickleness, we then begin to see a significant change in Romeo - when he climbs into Juliet's garden after the party, instead of his usual theatrical speeches, when he first see her he forgets his usual habits, and says unthinkingly,"It is my lady, O it is my love: O that she knew she were!"Not particularly eloquent, and Romeo's first genuinely heartfelt line.His love for Juliet draws another change - after their marriage, he becomes part of Juliet's family and so her cousin Tybalt is his cousin also. The feud between their two families leads to Tybalt challenging Romeo to a duel, yet Romeo, with no regard to his family's honour or his own, refuses. The reader's opinion of Romeo at this point can't help but change as he himself changes - it seems his marriage has made him grow up, and become more aware of the situation he was born into and instead of thinking only of himself, he thinks of Juliet and how it would hurt her if Tybalt or he were killed. He really does seem to have realised the meaning of love at this point and to have given up his former selfishness.However when he refuses to fight, Mercutio is furious at what he believes to be Romeo's cowardice, fights, and is killed by Tybalt, in Romeo's place. This results in a complete change in Romeo's attitude again, and he forgets all about Juliet and becomes focussed instead only on revenge for Mercutio, killing Tybalt. I think this is probably the most considerable change in Romeo throughout the play, as I don't believe the pathetic spectacle we met at the beginning of the play would have been capable of killing a man. While this is obviously not...

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