“The course of true love never did run smoothly”, Shakespeare used many different techniques to show this in Romeo and Juliet. Firstly he uses a complex plot with lots of twists and turns in it. Shakespeare also uses secret meetings in his plays; this makes the audience feel like they are involved in the play because they know what is happening when not all of the characters do. The plot of Romeo and Juliet is very elaborate and complicated. The audience is always surprised at what happens next. The story is based around the Capulet and Montague families. The two families both live in Verona and they both despise each other. Shakespeare throws us straight into the action in the first scene, with a fight between the two families. Shakespeare lets us know just how much the two households hate each other and gets the audience involved. Shakespeare also tells us something about Romeo in the first scene, he is very romantic and is already in love with Rosaline.
This will help the audience to relate to Romeo and will make them feel they know a little bit more about him. A servant of Lord Capulet asks Romeo to read an invitation for him. This tells us that Romeo is also well-educated. The servant then invites Romeo to the Capulet ball as long as he is not a Montague. Romeo accepts the invitation and goes to the ball and that is where he meets Juliet for the first time. He immediately falls in love with her. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Meanwhile, Tybalt recognizes Romeo and says to Lord Capulet, “Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe. A villain that is hither come in spite To scorn at our solemnity this night.” But Lord Capulet tells Tybalt to leave Romeo alone because he does not want any trouble at his party. We know that Tybalt is angered by this and says, “I will withdraw but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet convert to bitterest gall.” This lets the audience know he is willing to leave him for now but he will get his own back later.
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Romeo is unaware that Tybalt has found him out and he kisses Juliet. Romeo then discovers that she is the daughter of his sworn enemy. “Is she a Capulet? O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.” This is a twist in the plot and shows us the course of true love never did run smoothly. Romeo knows that they cannot be together because their families would not allow it. Despite this Romeo goes to see Juliet tell her how he feels about her. As he hides in the orchard he hears her talking about him. They exchange vows and she agrees to marry him. This shows the audience they do truly love each other because they have only just met and they are already talking about marriage. Romeo is ecstatic and goes to see Friar Laurence who agrees to marry the young couple because he believes it will help to stop the fighting between the two families. Juliet sends the nurse to see Romeo who tells her about the plan. When Juliet hears the news she is delighted and cannot wait. Meanwhile, Tybalt makes it known that he wishes to challenge Romeo to a duel.
This is another example where the course of true love does not run smoothly. Romeo knows he cannot accept the challenge because Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin and soon they will be family. Juliet meets Romeo at Friar Laurence’s cell. The couple is married in secret because they are afraid the families will find out. This shows that Romeo and Juliet are very trusting. They trust the Friar and the Nurse enough not to tell the families about their secret marriage. Then Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend, picks a fight with Tybalt. Romeo tries to stop the pair from fighting but Mercutio ends up being killed. Romeo becomes enraged, “This day’s black fate on mo days doth depend; This but begins the woe others must end.” Romeo fights with Tybalt and kills him. “Oh, I am fortune’s fool.” Romeo is banished from Verona by the Prince. This is another example where the course of true love does not run smoothly. Romeo can no longer be with Juliet, if he stays he will be killed. Romeo says, “Ha, banishment! Be merciful, say ‘death’. For exile hath more terror in his look, much more than death.” This shows the audience that Romeo loves Juliet so much that he would rather die than live without her.
Juliet is told she must marry Paris. She would rather stab herself than marry him so she goes to Friar Laurence for help. He gives her a potion, which will make her look like she is dead. Then when she is laid in the Capulet tomb Romeo will come and meet her and they can run away together. The Friar sends a letter to Romeo telling him of the plan but he does not receive it. This is another example of the course of true love not running smoothly. Balthasar brings Romeo the news that Juliet has died and Romeo visits an apothecary to buy some poison. Paris is already at the tomb when Romeo arrives. The pair fights and Paris is killed. When he sees Juliet he takes the poison and dies. The Friar arrives too late to save Romeo and when Juliet sees Romeo dead her to kills herself. The couple could not live without each other. The two families agreed to stop their fighting and finally there was peace in Verona.
Shakespeare also uses the element of age versus youth. Just like today, Juliet argued with her parents. Today we would often be told by our parents, “You don’t know you’re born!” This is using guilt to try and win the argument and both adults and children use it. In Romeo and Juliet, Capulet represents the tradition and Juliet’s, youthful love. Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris because she will have a higher social status and will get more money. Juliet however wants to marry Romeo because she loves him. She doesn’t care how rich he is or what family he comes from. Capulet says, “Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play, alone, in company-still my care hath been to have her match’d. And having now provided a gentleman of noble parentage-And then to have a wretched puling fool, a whining mammet, in her fortune’s tender, to answer ‘I’ll not wed, I cannot love, I am too young.'” Capulet is suggesting here that Juliet should be grateful that he has found her such a good husband and that she should apologies for not agreeing with him.
Juliet says, “Now, by Saint Peter’s church, and Peter too, he shall not make me there a joyful bride!” Juliet is saying she does not want to marry Paris and she will definitely not. The theme of age versus youth can also be found in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Twelfth Night. Juliet decides she must lie to her Father and fake her death. She believes it is her only option if she wants to be with Romeo. Juliet is a gentle girl and is obedient to her parents. Near the end of the play she changes and no longer listens to her parents. She fakes her own death so she does not have to do what her parents told her. “I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam, I will not marry yet.” Romeo is very romantic and is in love with the idea of being in love. He says, “In sadness, cousin, I do love a woman,” when he is talking about Rosaline. Later he says, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright.” When he talks about Juliet he is more passionate.
He really does love Juliet. The Nurse loves Juliet and at the start she wants her to be happy so she allows Juliet to marry Romeo. She likes Romeo and thinks that he is a gentle boy. Her opinion of him changes when he kills Tybalt. She loves Tybalt and is filled with hate for Romeo. She says, “I think you are happy in this second match, for it excels your first.” She is telling Juliet to marry Paris because he is far better than Romeo. This is the point where Juliet realizes she can no longer trust the nurse. The play ends with both families resolving their feud. Capulet says to Montague, “O brother Montague, give me thy hand.” The play has both a happy and sad ending. Romeo and Juliet have killed themselves but the two families have ended their dispute and there will no longer be any fighting in Verona.