Choose a play in which one the main characters has to cope with strong feelings such as love, jealousy, ambition or hatred. Show how the character deals with these feelings and what effect this has on the outcome of the play.
In the play “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, the character of Romeo has to cope with the strong feeling of love. The play tells the story of an ancestral feud between two opposing families, the Montagues and the Capulets, causing several harmful consequences. These consequences ultimately lead to the death of the families’ “star-cross’d lovers” Romeo and Juliet. Feeling of love make Romeo act impetuously several times during the play and this and unfortunate circumstances lead to the untimely death of both Romeo and Juliet.
In the first act of the play, Shakespeare introduces Romeo as an impulsive character. Romeo is portrayed as a man who is desperately in love with Rosaline, yet, when he meets Juliet he immediately falls in love with her:
“O dear account, my life is my foe’s debt!” The moment the Romeo lays eyes on Juliet his feelings of love for her are strong. Once finding out that she is a Capulet, he declares that his life is wasted. Romeo’s strong feelings of love influence how quick he is to forget Rosaline completely and fall in love with Juliet. After seeing Juliet, Romeo even doubts that he was in love before as he questions himself, “Did I love before?” It is evident here how much the feelings of love affect Romeo’s life and it seems as though all of his actions are based on his feelings of love.
Romeo’s strong love for Juliet cause him to act quickly upon his thoughts. This is clear as within a few days of knowing Juliet, Romeo goes to the Friar and arranges for them to be married:
“As mine is set on hers, so hers is set on mine… thou must combing by holy marriage”
Although Romeo thinks that he knows Juliet well, they have only known each other for less than a week. Romeo’s powerful feelings for Juliet cause him to act rashly and he behaves impatiently. He is also portrayed as immature here as he does not even stop to consider the feud or any consequences that could happen as a result of their marriage. His love for Juliet lead him to make bad decisions and act impetuously and this has several bad consequences later on in the play.
Another situation in which Romeos feelings towards Juliet cause him to act foolishly is in the balcony scene. His love for Juliet causes him to not fully realise his actions and this is evident here. When Juliet asks him how he entered the Capulet grounds he replies:
“With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls… thy kinsmen are no stop to me”
Romeo’s overpowering love for Juliet makes him blind to the danger he is in. He is desperate to see Juliet and this causes him to rashly decide to sneak into the Capulet grounds. He does not realise fully that he could be killed and his love causes him to risk his life. Romeo’s tries to show that he is ready to take risks to be with Juliet. Juliet, however, is more sensible and quickly tells him to run away before he is caught but Romeo is determined to stay with Juliet as he is totally euphoric with love. The Friar also advises Romeo to go “wisely and slow” but he ignores this and rushes into marriage the next day. Romeo’s strong feelings of love cause him to act very impulsively and irresponsibly and his desperation to marry Juliet cause him to forget everything else.