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LOVE AND DEATH. Joe Wyatt and Michael Clachers. Infatuation and ‘Courtly Love’. What Romeo experiences at the outset of the play with the unseen Rosaline. Romeo, in this instance, is not truly ‘in love’, but in love with the concept of love.

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Joe Wyatt and Michael Clachers


Infatuation and ‘Courtly Love’

What Romeo experiences at the outset of the play with the unseen Rosaline. Romeo, in this instance, is not truly ‘in love’, but in love with the concept of love.


Frequent exclamations of intense thought or feeling – ‘Ay me’ ‘O’

Highly melodramatic and wet – ‘Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs’ - Whimsical and lightweight

Oxymorons – ‘Heavy lightness‘ ‘feather of lead’

Whimsical – ‘sad hours seem long’

Personal Response

Rosaline is, in essence, not a tangible character – but instead is simply a conduit by which Shakespeare explores the idea of infatuation and courtly love.

It is also interesting to note that Romeo utterly believes that his love for Rosaline is true. It is important because it makes his sudden change to loving Juliet more significant and effective.


Sexual Love

Relevant on multiple occasions throughout the play.

First present in act 1 scene 1 with the crude humour of Gregory and Sampson -

Sampson: ‘I will cut off…their maidenheads.’

‘ I am a pretty piece of flesh’

Demonstrates the immaturity of the young characters, but also the superficial adulation that is prevalent in the play.

Sexual love at outset of the play is a strong juxtaposition to the climatically emotional and true love at its conclusion.


Nurse: Comic Figure in Romeo and Juliet.

Views sex in a biological, comedic and maternal manner.

‘women grow by men’ – Women become pregnant via men

‘seek happy nights to happy days’ – The Nurse is fully aware that Juliet will enjoy the more physical side of marriage.

Personal Response: Issue of Sexual Love

With her jovial, joking attitude towards sex and love in general (with reference to the burgeoning relationship between Romeo and Juliet), the Nurse underestimates the extent of the affinity between the two lovers, and thus is incapable of understanding it. She believes the relationship to consist of mere lust and infatuation, and is unaware of the strength of the Juliet's love. It is this misunderstanding that in my opinion the Nurse’s ‘betrayal’ in Act 3, Scene 5 is rooted.

The Nurse Does Not Take The Love Seriously

She enjoys being the messenger between Romeo and Juliet, which isn’t so much evident in the language but rather in the fact that she continuously helps the two lovers. She does not take the relationship seriously in it’s preliminary stages but begins to have second thoughts when talk of marriage occurs. This culminates in her betrayal in Act 3 Scene 5 when she refers to Romeo as a ‘dishclout’ and encourages Juliet to marry Paris, saying that she will be ‘happy with this second match, for it excels your first’.



  • Death is a part of the novel from the prologue
    • “Take their lives”
    • “Doth with their death”
  • Their love is “death-marked”
    • Death is inevitable
    • Links to their love being fated
  • The conflict between Montague’s and Capulet’s can only be cleansed by the death of Romeo and Juliet
    • “Doth with their death bury their parents strife”
  • Almost Every Important Character Dies

The sheer ubiquity of death within the play demonstrates its strong prevalence throughout all acts.


JULIET – Her Special Affinity With Death

  • Juliet is intimately connected to death. This shows her fate, but also foreshadows the ending as her “grave is like to be her wedding bed” which was ultimately where she ended her life with Romeo
    • “My grave is like to be my wedding bed”
    • “Death not Romeo take my maidenhead”
      • Desperation that she will never be able to be with Romeo
    • “Fool was married to her grave”/”death is my son in law”
      • Exclamations by Lord Capulet, another foreshadowing of the tragic ending.
    • “Bones of all my Ancestors”
      • Juliet has a unique connection with death; she is both afraid and interested in it.
  • Juliet is used by Shakespeare to convey vivid descriptions of death to the audience. The tragedy at the end is made more tragic for the audience feels more sorry for Juliet because throughout the play she has foreseen her death.
    • “My grave is like to be my wedding bed”
    • “My self have the power to die”
    • “Death, not Romeo, take my maiden-head”
  • Juliet’s death, and Romeo’s death, was also foreseen by Romeo and Lord Capulet
    • “Ask for me tomorrow… find me a grave man” – Romeo
    • “I would the fool be married to her grave” – Lord Capulet