Shakespeare displays his ideas of love at first sight and young love in “Romeo and Juliet”. William Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era where love was mostly influenced by the Courtly Love tradition. Courtly love is from the Middle ages and is much different to now. In Courtly love is where a man is supposed to fall in love with a woman who is or acts unavailable. The woman is supposed to refuse the man’s offers and total ignore him and play hard to get. The man goes in to depression and he starts to do things to gain his fair lady’s attention. She still turns him down and he starts to get jealous of her and anyone she is seen with.
The woman is normally of a higher status, married or from the wrong family. Shakespeare uses the ideas of courtly love and goes against the rules. In the play Juliet returns Romeo’s love when they meet at the Capulet’s ball. She doesn’t brush him aside and shows her love. The Elizabethans also believed strongly in the laws of marriage. A woman is only owned by first her father then her husband so she was not able to make her own decisions about her life. Her parents would have chosen her husband. In the play Paris was chosen to wed Juliet by her parents. But by this time Juliet had fallen in love with Romeo and did not want marry Paris.
In Act 1 scene 1 Romeo is not in love with Juliet to start the play. Romeo is or thinks he is in love with Rosaline. Romeo’s love is more to do with Courtly love even though he seems to be infatuated instead of real love. He is the typical lonely depressed person that courtly love rules say. We know this because Benvoilo and Romeo’s brother tells Lady Montague that he shuts himself up in his room and is dissolved in great thought, mainly about Rosaline. Shakespeare begins in this way to show how a typical person should act in the rules of Courtly love. This helps the story line when Romeo and Juliet meet.
In Act 1 scene 5 Shakespeare begins the scene where by the servants and hurrying around to get the last bits of the party sorted out, and because they are rushing they this builds up the tension in the atmosphere. It is the scene when Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and there is love at first sight. From the moment they saw each other they fell in love. Love like this can’t be helped even though tried. This scene is set at the Capulet’s ball and Romeo who is a Montague has crept in to the Capulet’s ball. Juliet’s cousin Tybalt notices him however. He goes and tells Capulet but he only tells Tybalt to keep his mouth shut as they have guests. This adds the sense of danger to the scene, incase Romeo and Juliet are caught together. The other most important feeling in the scene is love and love at first sight. Here is where Romeo loses his feelings for Rosaline and falls deeply in love with Juliet. Juliet goes against the rules of Courtly love and returns his love and this is a good example of love at first sight.
Romeo describes what he sees and is describing the way Juliet looks but not in the same way as he described Rosaline. People describe their lovers’ eyes as stars in the evening sky but Romeo says “O she doth teach the touches to burn bright”. He seems to describe not just on her looks but on how superior and higher status she is compared to him. In this part of the play Shakespeare uses imagery to describe how Juliet looks and what her movements are like. Romeo describes Juliet as “a snowy dove trooping with crows” to show that she shines out from everyone around her. Shakespeare uses a range of techniques to describe how Romeo is feeling about Juliet and how he has to see more of her. He uses techniques such as Juxtaposition of love and hate to show how tense the scene is and that feelings are running high. This also is the excitement and danger. The young lovers have the excitement of love at first sight but have the danger of being caught together. This is perfect example of the playing of the emotions.
Also in Act 2 scene 2 young love is shown. In this scene Romeo sneaks into the Capulet’s garden after the ball. Juliet, not knowing Romeo is listening to her, reveals her feelings about Romeo and she is trying to find a solution so they can be together. When Romeo reveals himself he starts to become less rational about his relationship with Juliet when she is thinking about long term and about the consequences of their actions even though they are in love. Juliet acts more responsible. Romeo starts saying things that are surreal like “there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their sword”. This shows he is so madly in love with Juliet that he would risk death then never to look in Juliet’s eyes. He seems to not have thought through what he is saying and is acting on the spare of the moment. Juliet is trying to get him to act rationally. When she asks him to say how much he loves her Rome says “by yonder blessed moon”. Juliet then asks for Romeo to swear by something more real and valuable then the moon showing she wants Romeo to take their love seriously. This is what young love is seen to be.
In the films produced by Baz Luhrmanm (1997) and Zeffrelli (1970) the scene is acted in slightly different ways. Baz Luhrmanm is known for his wacky interpretation of films. In Romeo and Juliet it is no different as he sets the story in a modern setting but still uses Shakespeare’s original language. In the Capulet’s ball it is a fancy dress party and he puts Juliet in an angel’s costume. This was a clever way to show how immortal she seems to Romeo and how she above everyone. Then when Romeo and Juliet have done their speech about each other and they go to kiss they go in to a lift. This shows how their relationship will take them to new levels of love and take them away from the wars of the surroundings. In films different camera shots can be used and lighting can be used differently but one thing that is the same in plays and films is the music. In BL film the music is playing softly in the background until the first kiss scene where it crescendos to show a dramatic part in the film. The Zeffrelli is older then the Baz Luhrmanm but just as good for the understanding of the play.
Zeffrelli stays more to true to Shakespeare’s script and in ties with the Elizabethan era as the dances and the costumes and the manners are the same as in the Elizabethan era. In the film Capulet is angrier with Tybalt for disturbing the peace at their ball. Capulet has his speech cut short and Lady Capulet finishes his speech off to add a bit more tension to the scolding. The nurse is involved in this in both films as she is the one who reveals that Romeo is a Montague but is played in 2 different moods. In the BL film after she tells Juliet who Romeo is, she tries to drag Juliet away from Romeo and get her to her mother where she couldn’t see Romeo. In the Zeffrelli film the nurse is more “drunk” and she seems to encourage Juliet for Romeo. In Zeffrelli he has created a young looking Juliet. This is to show her innocents and how new she is to the idea of love. This seems to help the story on young love. Overall the Baz Luhrmanm film is for the younger generations to watch if they want fast action and more explicit love scenes.
In conclusion I think Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a very triumphant love story and conveys the links between young love and love at first sight. It shows how young love and love at first sight can be and there isn’t always a happy ending but the consequences make former effects improved. Shakespeare effectively manages to create a great love story weaving in the emotions of Love and Hate. He builds up an immense sense of tension adding to the scenes and makes the feelings of Romeo and Juliet much stronger and powerful. Shakespeare may have shown this is young love but as well he has shown people can’t help whom they fall in love with like love at first sight.