The Use of Language to Convey Strong Emotion in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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One of the main catalysts in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' is powerful, uncontrollable emotions; love, hate, wrath, infatuation, and outrage are all apparent in the play and have a direct impact on the tragic events that unfold. In act one, scene two, the strongest emotions conveyed are those of despair, love and sincerity. Shakespeare uses imagery, figurative language and powerful vocabulary to convey these emotions to the audience.

Shakespeare uses dark and light imagery throughout the play to stand for death, violence, sadness and secrecy. In act one, scene two, Shakespeare uses dark imagery to convey Romeo's sadness. Montague describes romeo as creating an 'artificial night' which seems to reflect his dark, depressed mood.

However, in act two, scene two, the mood is altogether more optimistic and Shakespeare uses a lot of light imagery particularly when Romeo is describing Juliet. When he first sees her on the balcony, he compares her to the sun. This clearly conveys Romeo's passion for Juliet as the sun is a giver of life, a brilliant source of light and has connotations of happiness and cheer, which contrasts greatly with Romeo's previous melancholy. Furthermore, Romeo exclaims that Juliet's eyes and cheeks are 'bright and later call her a 'bright angel' which suggests the strength of his admiration for her - to him, she is more of a divine, or spiritual light; a beacon of hope.

Shakespeare emphasizes the optimism of the scene by using language that creates positive connotations of the dark - to contrast the depressive connotations of act one, scene two. Romeo is grateful for 'night's cloak' which allows him to visit Juliet in secret without being captured and killed by the guards. This notion is developed later in the play - Romeo and Juliet meet primarily in the night-time whilst the main acts of violence occur during the day. this manipulation of stereotypical imagery, combined with the sense of contrasting and conflicting emotions.

Finally, I believe that the strongest emotion that Shakespeare conveys to the audience is the strength of Romeo's love. This is because he uses such a wide range of devices to portray this emotion; dark and light imagery, oxymorons, hyperbole, metaphor and similes.

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"The Use of Language to Convey Strong Emotion in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." 25 Jun 2018
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Whether Romeo is discussing his unriquited love for Rosaline, or declaring his love for Juliet, Shakespeare presents him as a passionate character whose feelings of love are so strong that they overpower him. This is key to the story of Romeo anf juliet as it is just those emotions that lead to Romeo and Juliet to follow their tragic path towards suicide.

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