Explore how Shakespeare presents the experience of falling in love in Act One of Romeo and Juliet. Refer to your wider reading in the literature of love.
Romeo and Juliet has been described by critics as being ‘Shakespeare’s most enduring tragic love story’ and it is rich in techniques and dramatic devices that help to portray the experience of falling in love. There are a variety of different types of love that are explored in Act One of the play and they include unrequited love, fickleness about relationships, falling in love as a religious experience as well as the language of youthfulness and immaturity around relationships.
One of the key ways that Shakespeare has presented the experience of falling in love is by portraying it as an immature infatuation and as being a very fickle experience. This is particularly shown by Romeo’s infatuation with Rosaline at the start of the play whereby he has only a shallow idea about what love should look like. Romeo has been portrayed as a very enigmatic and despondent character, especially during Act One, Scene One. Whilst conversing with Benvolio he says that he is ‘Out of her favour, where I am in love’ and yet despite this knowledge that Rosaline has no interest in him, he still pursues her. This could show that Romeo is not so much in love with Rosaline and rather he is in love with the idea of falling in love. This whole idea is made a lot worse for the audience after they find out that Romeo is ‘out of her favour’ as Shakespeare is explicitly saying that he is not a romantic lover, rather he is an unrequited lover. Throughout this section Shakespeare is conveying to the audience that love is not a straightforward experience and that things will not always go according to plan.
The uses of apostrophe in Romeo’s language are used very liberally and can contribute to Shakespeare portraying to the audience that he is not truly in love. For example, one of the most famous examples of this comes in Act One, Scene…