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Romeo before Juliet


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MONTAGUE: Many a morning hath he there been seen, / With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew. / Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs
[Act 1, scene 1] Shakespeare has Lord Montague use melancholic imagery and pathetic fallancy to enhance the despression and mystery the charatcer describes havign been seen displayed by his son. Romeo is described as publically weeping and sighing - all marks of both a broken heart, but also a performative need to be seen so.
MONTAGUE: Shuts up his windows, locks far daylight out / And makes himself an artificial night
[Act 1, scene 1] Shakespeare has Lord Montague describe Romeo as misanthropic and withdrawn, beginning the character's associations between light and love. He will keep up an "artificial night" until he meets his "bright angel" and "sun" in Juliet.
ROMEO: Here's much to do with hate, but more with love. / Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
[Act 1, scene 1] Romeo's metaphors echo the contradictory language of the typical Petrarchan lover – a lover who echoes the paradoxical phrases of the Italian poet Francesco Petrarch. The poet was famed for his unrequited love and use of oxymorons to emphasise the impossibility of their union. Romeo is being fashionably melancholic and hyperbolic here - hence why Benvolio later laughs at him.
ROMEO: she'll not be hit / With Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit; / And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd […] / She will not stay the siege of loving terms, […] / Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold
[Act 1, scene 1] Playing on the imagery of Diana - Roman goddess of both virginity and hunting (the same Diana who is also the goddess of the moon that Romeo will compare to Juliet later), Shakespeare has Romeo's first udnerstanding of love to be a competative one of domination and battle. His lover is someone to be hunted and won, not the mutal love he will find with Juliet. Unlike Petrach, whose love was chaste and merely declaratory (not attempting persuasion), Romeo has tried to seduce Rosaline with words, deeds, and bribery: with enough "gold" to seduce even a saint! This is immature lust, not mature, knowing love, the character just doesn't realise the difference yet.
ROMEO: she'll not be hit / With Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit; / And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd […] / She will not stay the siege of loving terms, […] / Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold
[Act 1, scene 1] Playing on the imagery of Diana - Roman goddess of both virginity and hunting (the same Diana who is also the goddess of the moon that Romeo will compare to Juliet later), Shakespeare has Romeo's first udnerstanding of love to be a competative one of domination and battle. His lover is someone to be hunted and won, not the mutal love he will find with Juliet. Unlike Petrach, whose love was chaste and merely declaratory (not attempting persuasion), Romeo has tried to seduce Rosaline with words, deeds, and bribery: with enough "gold" to seduce even a saint! This is immature lust, not mature, knowing love, the character just doesn't realise the difference yet.
ROMEO: you have dancing shoes / With nimble soles: I have a soul of lead
[Act 1, scene 4] Shakespeare continues Romeo's early characterisation as a melancholic and hyperbolic young man still able to make wordplays in his depression.
ROMEO: my mind misgives / Some consequence yet hanging in the stars / Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
[Act 1, scene 4] A dose of dramatic irony before the party scene of Act 1, scene 5 where the couple first meet. We know from the Prologue that Romeo and Juliet will be "star-cross'd" and"death-mark'd"; Romeo is characterised as sensing this here but - like any genre-typical tragic protagonist - is tragically myopic (blind) to is impending fate.