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Foreshadowing in romeo and juliet essay help

May 29, 2018

Romeo and Juliet

A Foreshadowing Conversation in Romeo and Juliet


In Romeo and Juliet, many ironic situations foreshadowing their doomed result. In the passage where Tybalt and Capulet debate at the masquerade feast, there are many lines that directly foreshadow two important components of the play: Romeo’s murder of Tybalt, and Romeo and Juliet’s efforts to hide their romance from their families. Their confrontation also introduces one of the play’s themes, the idea of adult wisdom over youth naiveté.

Romeo and Juliet follows the story of two lovers who are bound apart by their rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets, who have been perpetually feuding for reasons unknown. Every character of the play is very loyal to their family. The play begins with Romeo’s infatuation with Rosaline; he says she is the most beautiful girl he has ever laid his eyes on, and her lack of reciprocal feelings makes him very upset. Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin, is determined to help Romeo overcome his feelings for Rosaline. They acquire invitations to the Capulet masquerade party, where Benvolio intends to distract Romeo with girls that are more beautiful than Rosaline, but Romeo just wants to go to the ball as an excuse to see her.

As Romeo is making his way through the crowd, he lays his eyes on Juliet for the...

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Reviewing Romeo And Juliet And Their Love Film Studies Essay

Published: 23rd March, 2015

Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet' during the Elizabethan period in the late sixteenth century. Though we cannot be definitive on the date or year, analysing Shakespeare's other work and references made in the text (noticeably made by Juliet's Nurse referring to an earthquake occurring 11 years ago), it is likely that 'Romeo and Juliet' was written around 1595.

The play is set in the small town of Verona, situated in Italy. 'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragedy, and this is proven as Shakespeare uses foreshadowing devices early on in the play to show that events are going to blow out of proportion, and the themes of the play shall combine so that the lives of Romeo and Juliet will end in disaster.

Shakespeare uses the prologue as an enormous foreshadowing device for the audience to take advantage of. The key elements of the play are almost handed to the audience from the beginning; however, it is up to the audience to fill in the gaps. The opening line of the prologue describes the two families as 'alike in dignity'. The Capulet and Montague families share a similar status in society but Shakespeare informs the audience that the two families have an 'ancient grudge' which plays a major role as 'civil hands [become] unclean', meaning that fighting between the two families takes place.

Throughout the prologue, Shakespeare uses numerous foreshadowing devices like the one mentioned above. One in particular which shares Elizabethan beliefs and superstition is when Shakespeare describes Romeo and Juliet as 'two star-crossed lovers'. This phrase is used to describe a relationship which is doomed from the start. This is particularly clever because people used astrology to judge relationships during the sixteenth century. For this reason, the stars were assumed to be working against Romeo and Juliet's relationship in order to bring peace to the feuding families. Furthermore, this connotes the play as a tragedy, and that Romeo and Juliet entered their relationship with little preparation.

From the outset of Act 1, Scene 1, Romeo is the topic of conversation between his parents and Benvolio. Shakespeare uses specific language to engage the audience's interest that something is unsettling Romeo. Lady Montague shows her immediate concern by enquiring, 'Where is Romeo?' Benvolio tells her that Romeo was 'underneath the grove of sycamore' before dawn, and when seeing him 'stole into the covert of the wood'. This illustrates that Romeo is feeling melancholic emotions, and that he is sensitive. Romeo is embarrassed that he has been seen mourning, as much still like today, a man would be considered weak to cry. In addition to this, Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy to show how Romeo's feelings are similar to his surroundings. 'Sycamore' derives from Latin, meaning 'sick of love', which tells the audience that Romeo is love sick, therefore the audience can be sure that Romeo has been rejected by Rosaline. Romeo's unwillingness to be caught crying can be reinforced by a comment made by Lord Capulet regarding Romeo 'augmenting the fresh morning dew', meaning that Romeo went outside in the early morning to grieve, rather than the middle of the day when more people would likely be out. These descriptions of Romeo enable the audience to form an impression of his character, even before he enters the stage Romeo is presented as a melancholy, isolated figure who is trying to cope with the confusion of rejection.

Romeo uses oxymoron like 'feather of lead' to describe his confusion as regards to his love for Rosaline. These juxtapositions have branched off Romeo's main emotion of 'loving hate'. This oxymoron shows how Romeo feels trapped between two completely different emotions, and that these emotions are feeding off each other, making Romeo feel miserable.

In addition to this, Romeo says, 'Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold'. As a consequence of this, I believe that Romeo is not truly in love with Rosaline, but is infatuated rather than in love. The audience can tell that Romeo was confident when requesting such an offer to Rosaline because he described himself as 'saint-seducing gold'. In my opinion, this is a very important reason why Romeo fell in love with Juliet so quickly, as he knows his chances with Rosaline were exceptionally low.

During the sixteenth century Elizabethan England was a Patriarchal Society, playing a role in every woman's life of that time. Juliet is no exception - Lord Capulet finds Juliet's suitor, and sees no reason why she would object to marriage. Juliet is looking for love, but on the other hand, Lord Capulet wants to find an eligible young man from a wealthy background. This clashing of tastes is a factor which contributes to Juliet's death, as she could not marry the man she wanted with freedom from strife. If Romeo and Juliet's love affair took place in today's society, Lord Capulet would not have objected to her marrying Romeo, so Juliet and Lord Capulet's relationship would have been stronger. To some extent therefore, Shakespeare's play reflects aspects of Elizabethan society.

Juliet's relationship with her mother is also one common to when the play was written. Affluent families would have a nurse, or a servant of some sort to assist them. Juliet's nurse acted much like her mother, in the way that she helped her, protected her, and looked after her from the outside world. For this reason, Lady Capulet was able to take a step back so the nurse would intervene. Juliet's relationship with her nurse is therefore stronger than with her mother.

Romeo has a great deal of freedom compared to Juliet because of the patriarchal views shared by both sets of parents. Romeo's parents are more concerned about his feelings, and this is evident in Act 1. Juliet's parents have completely different views on how she should be brought up - allowing men to make her life changing decisions. Lord Capulet places an excessive amount of pressure on his daughter. Consequently, Juliet's life becomes extremely difficult as she takes it into her own hands, making her own decisions. The values and beliefs of this Patriarchal Society were a barrier which Juliet needed to overcome, but unfortunately, she could not.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare's use of oxymoron indicates that Romeo's thoughts are chaotic, and he is thinking differently opposed how he normally would. 'Cold fire' suggests that Romeo is struggling to get his thoughts in order, as 'cold' could not be used to describe 'fire', which is extremely hot. For this reason, when Shakespeare uses an oxymoron to describe Romeo's emotions, the audience can consider Romeo's feelings during that time of the play to be of confusion and perplexity.

In Act 1, Scene 5 (the 'Party Scene') Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and instantly fall in love. Originally, Romeo and Benvolio decided to gatecrash the party in an attempt to see Rosaline, however, Romeo saw Juliet for the first time and his intentions instantly changed from one woman to another. Immediately after seeing Juliet for the first time, Romeo speaks in a soliloquy, describing Juliet as the most beautiful human-being his eyes have ever set upon. Romeo describes Juliet as '[hanging] upon the cheek of night'. Shakespeare uses this contrast of black and white to show how Romeo believes Juliet to be conspicuously beautiful, a woman to be worshipped.

The 'Party Scene' acts as a viewing opportunity for the audience in respects of the dramatic irony used by Shakespeare. We get to watch their love for each other grow throughout the scene, though the Prologue does tell us they are 'star-crossed lovers', thus are destined to meet, and destined to die. Equally, Romeo and Juliet do not as yet know they belong to rival families until near the end of Act 1, Scene 5. This is so both characters can show their emotions for each other before they may be changed by the rivalry between their families. Nevertheless, when Romeo and Juliet do realise, they both respond similarly. Romeo speaks, 'Is she a Capulet? O dear account! My life is my foe's debt.' He is in a state of shock, much like when Juliet finds out through her nurse a few lines further down - 'My only love sprung from my only hate!' This tells us that Juliet does not love Paris, but Romeo, and that she shares the same feelings as Romeo.

When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he speaks deep thoughts, and compares her to only good things. Evaluating Shakespeare's choice of language, he wanted Juliet to come across as innocent and untouched. Romeo says, 'So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows.' Here, Shakespeare uses a combination of natural imagery colour symbolism to show Juliet's purity. This differs from the choice of language used when Romeo described Rosaline earlier in the play. When speaking about Rosaline, Romeo was confused about his feelings, and found it frustrating. In contrast, when describing Juliet, Shakespeare created positive imagery, and this captured Romeo's kind feelings towards Juliet.

When Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time, Shakespeare assembles a shared sonnet to show how their intimacy develops so quickly. Within the shared sonnet, Shakespeare combines metaphors and religious imagery to show the intimacy of Romeo and Juliet's developing relationship. For example, Romeo says, 'My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.' Though here, Romeo appears to be only talking about himself, the use of religious imagery appeals to Juliet because of the time period. Despite this, Romeo calls Juliet a 'holy shrine', which shows how much he values her. Romeo is comparing Juliet to a goddess in religious context, a woman to be worshipped adored, and Juliet accepts Romeo and they kiss for the first time.

Juliet obviously has strong feelings for Romeo, and is not afraid of expressing them to him. When Romeo describes his lips as 'two blushing pilgrims', Juliet decides to play along and tells Romeo he is a 'good pilgrim'. This shows how Juliet is attracted to Romeo, and also that she is comfortable in Romeo's presence. Moving on from this point, Romeo leads the first kiss, and Juliet drops a clever comment for Romeo to realise she would like to kiss again. After the second kiss Juliet tells Romeo, 'You kiss by th'book.' This insinuates that Juliet enjoyed the kiss, and it was an experience for her which was out of this world. For this reason, the audience can be sure of what Juliet thinks of Romeo.

During the 'Party Scene' of Baz Luhrman's film production of 'Romeo and Juliet', lighting effects, camera angles and music all work together to create the atmosphere needed for the scene to be effective. One point of the scene which particularly caught my eye was when Romeo and Juliet first see each other through the fish tank. In the build up to this point the general mood of the party settles and the theme music of 'Kissing You by Des'ree' begins to play. The music continues through the whole party scene, making Romeo and Juliet's first encounter seem unreal for each of them. An instrumental version of the music is played during the scene in which the tempo is increased to signal the happiest part of the scene.

Romeo and Juliet are on either sides of the fish tank during the scene, which creates a physical barrier between them. Before knowing that Juliet is on the other side, Romeo observes the fish tank for some time, admiring the fish. The fish are of an exotic nature, and are mostly blue. This colour symbolism suggests the part of the scene to be calm and interrupted, so could be looked as a foreshadowing device. When the fish tank is in view of the camera, the lighting is bright, whilst everything else in the scene is dim. This shows the audience the spotlight of the scene. The lighting is even brighter when Romeo sees Juliet, as the whiteness of her eye takes up much of the camera. Once Romeo and Juliet begin looking at each other, the camera alternates from the angles in which Romeo and Juliet are looking through. Whilst this change of camera angles is in process, the director has wanted Romeo and Juliet to seem clean and pure. A suggestion on how the director has achieved could be that Juliet has yet to join the party, and Romeo has just washed his face with water. Throughout this part of the scene, Romeo and Juliet have not yet spoken to each other. Instead, the camera acts as the narrator and revolves around the fish tank, concentrating on Romeo and Juliet and is the word and mouth of the scene.

The symbol of water is used throughout the film, especially during the fish tank scene, when Romeo was first introduced, and when Juliet was in the bath. Also, after the fight scene Romeo was smoking on the beach. This constant use of water with Romeo and Juliet indicates that Baz Luhrman thought of Romeo and Juliet as being innocent, kind, and pure lovers who did not deserve to die.

Baz Luhrman retains much of the original Shakespearean language but he has adapted the script for film. Noticeable changes include the order of events. In the original script Romeo's soliloquy in which he notes Juliet takes place first, followed by Tybalt talking to Lord Capulet. However, in Baz Luhrman's production, Romeo and Juliet meet first as they look through the fish tank (with no speech), then Tybalt talks to Lord Capulet, and lastly Romeo speaks his soliloquy. This reshuffle of events has happened because the audience can rely on the camera to 'show' us the events rather than the characters speaking. This is particularly effective as camera angles are used to bring more attention to Romeo and Juliet, making the scene more romantic.

An event which Baz Luhrman preserves in his production is the shared sonnet between Romeo and Juliet. Luhrman has done this because the shared sonnet is an iconic moment in Romeo and Juliet, and it would be mystifying to the audience to not see this event. The advantage of keeping the shared sonnet is that it adds to the passionate context of the scene between Romeo and Juliet. During the shared sonnet, the camera focuses on Romeo and Juliet's faces, and in consequence exaggerates their emotions.

The costume selection for the characters in Baz Luhrman's production of 'Romeo and Juliet' provides helpful foreshadowing devices which help the audience to have a better understanding of the roles assigned to various characters. A costume which in particular was effective in the party scene was Tybalt's - dressed as The Devil. The idea of him being a devil gives the message that bad things are to come, and this prediction becomes more believable when we see Tybalt's servants dressed as skeletons. There are three people wearing evil-like costumes, which could suggest that three main characters are going to take part in the fight which happens after the party. Both Romeo and Juliet share effective costumes also, Romeo as the knight in shining armour, and Juliet as a white angel. Together, these costumes convey the idea of innocence and purity for Juliet through the white colour symbolism of her angelic costume, and that Romeo was trying to save Juliet from the terrible fate which awaited her towards the end of the play. Romeo's costume of a knight in shining armour is a stereotypical image used as a foreshadowing device to tell the audience that it is his duty to save Juliet from their family's trifling.

Love is a strong word, and you could argue that it had a different meaning to today's meaning of love, which could be a reason for Romeo and Juliet's sudden love for each other. In a modern play, their love story would be unreal because there was no build up to their love. Despite this, Shakespeare used foreshadowing devices, and presented speech in an effective way using blank verse, iambic pentameter and the highly structured form of the sonnet. Shakespeare's love story revolves around love at first sight, in which Romeo and Juliet concentrated more on each others physical appearance rather than their personality. Though Shakespeare's story of Romeo and Juliet may be considered unrealistic in today's society, I believe it to be 'the greatest love story ever told' because it was one of the first which gave the lovers involved deep feelings for each other which the audience could share.

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. Carl Reiner

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