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Thesis Paper On William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare was writing Romeo and Juliet in a very conservative, christian time period. He allowed his surroundings to affect his writing. He tends to depict Juliet as many of the women around that time by showing how she is treated and how she acts throughout the play. Shakespeare describes women to be inferior by portraying Juliet as naive, over dramatic, and impulsive.


To begin, we have a party that was hosted by the Capulets. This is the setting of where Romeo and Juliet first meet. They flirt and then Romeo kisses Juliet and she doesn't have one problem with this. She then impulsively kisses him back. (I.V). She had given no thought whatsoever to maybe find out the boy’s name or anything about him. This shows how she is impulsive and only acts on instinct. Another example would be when her and Romeo meet at the balcony and tells him that she will send a messenger to him so they could meet again (II.ii). This means she is most definitely planning on meeting him again and soon. She has only heard a few sweet words spoken to her and already feels like she could love him. Shakespeare is making it seem as if all women act in such a impulsive way and fall in love way too quickly.  It almost seems as if Juliet does not have common sense and is being completely overdramatic.


As a result, Juliet seems to not have have a clear sense of mind. This is mostly shown when she found out about the banishment of Romeo. She suggests this by saying “Take up those cords. Poor ropes, you are beguiled, both you and I, for Romeo is exiled” (III.ii.133-134). To emphasize the fact that she is willing to kill herself over the fact that a man she has known for 3 days is exiled. She is being very over dramatic and impulsive. She isn't thinking straight and making rash decisions. Also, to bring up another important part, Romeo seem a to do the exact same thing. Romeo goes to Friar Lawrence for help with this endeavor. He is also threatening to commit suicide. The Friar then makes rather sexist comments about Romeo’s masculinity, stating that his emotions are “womanish” and that he needs to “man up”. That he is not allowed to show emotion since he is a man, and he would not be considered a man anymore since men don't show emotion. This is a perfect example that proves that Shakespeare is claiming that women, especially Juliet, are over dramatic. Also the fact that apparently, to Shakespeare, thinks it is an insult to be called a women.


In the end, Juliet is showing her most obvious trait that has been shown the whole play. It is the fact that she is very much naive. She illustrates this greatly when Friar Lawrence gives her a potion for her to drink that will make her unconscious for forty-two hours. This is shown when he shows her the drink and says, “ Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distillèd liquor drink thou off, when presently through all thy veins shall run, a cold and drowsy humor, for no pulse. Shall keep his native progress, but surcease. No warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest. The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade. To paly ashes, thy eyes' windows fall, like death when he shuts up the day of life. Each part, deprived of supple government, shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death. And in this borrowed likeness of shrunk death, thou shalt continue two and forty hours, and then awake as from a pleasant sleep.” (IV.i.94-107) He tells her that she will be dead for forty-two hours and that she will just wake up afterwards. That seems like a very unethical plan that she completely agrees to. She is completely convinced that she will wake up, so she drinks the poison. Later when she finds out Romeo is dead because he killed himself over her death, she decides to kill herself. (V.iii.169-171) Even though the Friar had given a pretty good plan to help her escape, she still kills herself because she can’t live without her Romeo.


At last, Shakespeare seems to continuously illustrates women, especially Juliet, to have very poor features. Such as being unworldly, acting passively, and making hasty decisions. This is Shakespeare's way of thinking and he clearly shows it this way. We are able to see the fact that women were expected and most likely did act this way. Now that we know this, do we still consider Romeo and Juliet to be the epic love story that everyone knows and loves? 

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