Valentine Carol Ann Duffy Critical Essay

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This technique of using death to symbolize love is shown by Shakespeare when Romeo’s addiction of true love draws him to go into the Capulet garden and find Juliet on her balcony.

It is here where Romeo tells Juliet that he would rather face death than have to live and deal with Juliet’s rejection, ‘My life were better ended by their hate than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.’ Romeo use of this quote is to almost show commitment and willingness to sacrifice anything for Juliet and to open up his true feelings; even though a modern audience may see these sudden feelings as overly exaggerated due to love being seen as something that grows over time by many people now and not something that can occur within a few hours.

To a reader, this immediately puts both Romeo and Juliet in isolation signifying such intense, physical feelings and attraction on Romeo’s behalf.

In modern society, some may view this as sexual love or lust but love at first sight was accepted by Elizabethan society.

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This illustrates the differences in social, cultural and historical views on love from the Elizabethan period in which Shakespeare lived and the present world.

Shakespeare’s use of language and structure in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ contributes and further enhances the feelings involved in the play to an audience.

Juliet wills it so.’ Again this quote expresses how Romeo puts Juliet and her happiness before death.

This language and structure is used by Shakespeare along with its relation to love and death give the quote a true portrayal of the emotions involved between Romeo and Juliet.


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