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Everyone Acts Emotionally in Romeo and Juliet

Updated on February 25, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Painting

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Characters in Romeo and Juliet Act on Emotion

A statement that was from an interview says, “Literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason, that motivates characters in literature.” In other words people in stories, and mostly in real life, tend to act with emotion and reason isn’t used as much. A good example of this is in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In this story the characters act on their emotion and almost ignore thinking during the story.

In Romeo in Juliet the first example starts the story off with Romeo. He, in the beginning of the story, is madly in love with a woman named Rosaline. He is hopeless and is very broken up that Rosaline won’t love him back. Soon after he arrives at a party that everyone at, is his family’s enemy. He sees Juliet and poof, he loves her. Instantly he forgets everything about Rosaline and falls for this woman. Romeo didn’t act with reason, only emotion.

Another very good example from the same story is when Juliet wants to marry Romeo and not Count Paris who her father and mother want her to. She consults a man. Friar Lawrence. He quickly conjures up a plan to trick all of  Juliet’s family by giving her a potion that will make her appear to be dead. She won’t be though. Her pulse will go down. Her breathing will slow. Two days later she will awake as though she just had a nice rest. Everyone except Romeo and Friar Lawrence will know she isn’t dead. To inform Romeo about the plan Friar Lawrence sends an urgent letter to him explaining the situation. Unfortunately, before the letter arrives his servant found out Juliet was “dead” and reports to Romeo. Romeo goes to see Juliet in the tomb and Romeo kills himself with poison he had gotten a few hours earlier. Juliet then wakes up and finds Romeo dead, and then stabs herself. Sounds like a lovely story, doesn’t it? Well, here we have many examples of people acting on emotion, not reason. First, Friar Lawrence’s plan was thought up pretty quickly, and not much was put into the problems that could arise. Next, we have the servant, who tells Romeo the “bad news” before he gets the letter and learns the truth. And we have Romeo, who doesn’t think anything of Juliet’s lips still being red, not stone grey. He doesn’t check to see if she’s breathing even a little, which she was. Wasn’t it great how as soon as Romeo killed himself Juliet wakes up? Such a cheerful, happy story.

So in Romeo and Juliet we can see many examples of people reacting, not using their mind before making actions. This can also be seen in real life. I have come across many people in my life who act on emotion and don’t think before they talk or do something. Where does Shakespeare get all these ideas for stories from and how does he write the stories so well? Remember, think before you do things.

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