The Theme of Love Presented in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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The Theme of Love Presented in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Love, or a lack of it, is a very central theme in Romeo and Juliet and often is the root of many arguments in the play. It is very difficult to group love as just one thing as there are many versions of it.

A love which the capulets particularly, seem to possess is a love of material possessions and power. For example, the Capulet ball (and subsequent plans for the marriage) is an indication of wealth and the ability to entertain on a lavish scale. Thus Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of ease and opulence.

At the end of the play Shakespeare makes the point that no amount of wealth and power, no statues erected in pure gold,
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From familial love Juliet has moved to romantic, but true, love.

A love of friendship plays an important part in the story and is allied to the idea of loyalty. Shakespeare uses Benvolio and Mercutio as representative of the Montague 'gang'. We assume there are more young men involved, as specified in the stage directions: 'Enter Mercutio [and his Page], Benvolio and Men'. Emphasis on the Montague's being a 'gang' leaves a macho impression. However the gentle nature of Benvolio shows that not all of them are macho, all the time.

The Capulet 'gang' is represented in the same way, but Shakespeare needs only concentrate on Tybalt as the leader. The idea of close friendship is established early on when Benvolio takes it upon himself to counsel and help Romeo with regard to his love for Rosaline. It is Benvolio who suggests they go to the masked party where the main action of the play really starts. Throughout the play Benvolio retains the characteristics of loyalty and honesty. He serves as the peacemaker, supporting not only his friends but also the law.

The fiery Mercutio shows himself a concerned friend of Romeo before the ball and it is this close friendship that leads to the fight with Tybalt. Mercutio comes to the defence of his friend Romeo who, he assumes, is too cowardly to accept the Capulet's dare. Angry and offended, he takes up the challenge. This may
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