How Does Shakespeare Present Love

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How does Shakespeare present love in Romeo and Juliet and a selection of Sonnets? Shakespeare presents love as the empowering, everlasting, enduring true love contrasting superficial, fickle Courtly love and objectifying sexual love. Juliet was powerless at the beginning of the play, but through her true love of Romeo, she is empowered to overcome the limits of women in the Patriarchal society. She achieves a perfect, gender-equal relationship, like that of Sonnet 116. Courtly love is mocked for being immature and futile in both Sonnet 130 and when Romeo despairs about Rosaline. Romeo demonstrates the Petrarchan love is superficial and futile as he forgets about Rosaline. The spiritual love between Romeo & Juliet, defined by religious imagery,…show more content…
In the 15th Century, the only way to challenge the views of one’s parents was to commit suicide or run away, thus Juliet was commanding in Act 3 Scene 5 when she declares to Lady Capulet “It shall be Romeo, … Rather than Paris”. The fact that she does not cover up the message in elaborate language and that it is said so concisely suggests she does not wish to co-operate with her mother at all. However, her father still presides over her when he viciously shouts at her afterwards, but only until she abandons the nurse, who she describes as a “wicked fiend” - false friend. Children of the age would have been cared for from birth by a nurse, and just as deserting one’s nurse was a significant act, this is a turning point in the play where the lovers go into hiding. Tragically, as was the only way to disagree about marriage, Juliet later commits suicide for the sake of love which she foreshadows at the end of the scene: “If all else fail, myself have the power to die.” Sadly, love makes her most powerful after her death when rival Montague will erect “her statue in pure
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