Tuongvan Le Ms. Johns 05/18/10 4B Romeo and Juliet Research Paper In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Romeo’s character was undermined as a foolish, feminist, and untrustworthy man to the audience, which finally contributes to the tragedy of the play. He is foolish as he was completely defeated by love-sick, impulsively asked for marriage after seeing Juliet for one night, and blindly drank the poison. Also, Romeo was a feminist as he was crying on the floor like a woman after the Prince pronounced his banishment.
Finally, he is shown to the audience as a potentially faithless man who only loves a woman based on her look and quickly forgets about his old love completely as he has a new one. All of these elements come together and convey a sense of the lack of strong masculinity character in Romeo, whose tragic flaw finally contributes to the tragic ending of the play. Romeo shows his foolishness in the play through his impulsive, thoughtless actions, and inability to overcome love sick.
According to Hager, Romeo’s love is more psychic rather than just usual sexual attraction (8), showing that Romeo isn’t a normal lover who can at least live on with life eventually after a problem in love. He’s way more extreme and can be considered as a blind lover. For example, Romeo said: “Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here; /This is not Romeo, he’s some other where” (Shakespeare 1. 1. 193-194), “She (Rosaline) hath forsworn to love, and in that vow/ Do I live dead that live to tell it now” (1. 1. 218-219), “Where I may read who pass’d that passing fair? Farewell. Thou canst not teach me to forget” (1. 1. 231-232). He can’t get over love sick with Rosaline, who already decided to remain chaste for life but was completely defeated by love-sick and foolishly announced that he “lives dead. ” He didn’t try to forget her but is depressed and stressed over it. He blindly refused to listen to Benvolio’s advice to move on and look for another woman, insisting that no one is fairer than Rosaline, showing that he doesn’t think clearly about what decision is best for him and his life.
Parallel to this, his extreme love-sick toward Juliet finally contributes to the tragedy of the play as he was too overwhelmed by love and can’t think clearly when he heard that Juliet died. He inconsiderately announced: “Come, bitter conduct; come, unsavory guide” (5. 3. 116), “Here’s to my love” (5. 3. 119), “Thus with a kiss I die” (5. 3. 120). Romeo, without consideration of why Juliet died, just drank the poison and committed suicide, blindly concluded that he’ll unite with Juliet after death.
According to Gleed, Romeo’s tragic flaw was designed to win little enthusiasm from audience as it results in the tragic ending of the play (80). In reality, if he was calmer and consults with the Friar and try to find out why Juliet died, the tragedy might not occur. In addition, Romeo was thoughtless when he decided to marry Juliet after one night meeting her. At the first sight looking at Juliet, Romeo commented “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! / For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (1. 5. 52-53). Romeo told the Friar “Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set/ On the fair daughter of rich Capulet” (2. . 57-58), “We met, we wooed, and made exchange of vow,/ I’ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,/ That thou consent to marry us today” (2. 3. 62-64). At the first sight, he suddenly realized that he loves her because she’s beautiful and hastily decided to ask Friar Lawrence to marry to Juliet the next day without considering her personality, ability, family, and the consequences of their marriage. If he had thought about this and gives it more time to settle the feud between the families, the play would have a happy ending.
Again, referring back to Hague’s comment, the psychic love causes Romeo in this case to be thoughtless, blindly decided to marry, leading to the tragic ending as the continuing feud between families result in Romeo’s banishment, which finally contributes to Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. Romeo’s feminism and lack of masculinity also undermined his character. “Romeo is portrayed as an immature and emasculated character, one who falls short of his society’s codes of masculinity, a figure designed to win little enthusiasm from an Elizabethan audience” ( Gleed 80 ).
For example, when he was banished, Romeo cried out in Friar’s cell: “There’s no world without Verona walls,/ But purgatory, torture, hell itself. / Hence “ banished” is banish’d from the world,/ And world’s exile is death” (3. 3. 17-20). Friar Lawrence condemned “Art thou a man? Thy form cries out thou art;/ Thy tears are womanish, they wild acts denote/ The unreasonable fury of a beast. / Unseemly woman in a seeming man” (3. 3. 109-113). Romeo cries out and whines like a woman as Gleed commented “Romeo can be found hrowing a teary tantrum on the floor and is thus paralleled with Juliet” (81). He isn’t strong, determined, and doesn’t stand up like a man to face the banishment and try to figure out a way to solve it. This contributes to the final tragedy as he is not strong and calm enough to think of a solution for his banishment and tell it directly to Juliet so both sides would be informed but have to depend on the Friar for the solution, which finally contributes to the tragic ending as only one side (Juliet and Friar) is informed but the other side ( Romeo ) can possibly not be informed.
His feminism also relates to his foolishness as he is strong enough to withstand Juliet’s death and try to consult with the Friar to figure out the causes of Juliet’s death, resulting in the tragedy. In addition, based on Gleed’s comment, “Romeo is perceived as effeminate by those around him and reprimanded as such by such disparate characters as Friar Lawrence, Mercutio, and the Nurse (81). ” Finally, Shakespeare showed Romeo’s infidelity as he completely forgot Rosaline after seeing Juliet.
Romeo requested: “But this I pray,/ That thou consent to marry us [Romeo and Juliet] today” (2. 3. 64-65). His faithlessness is emphasized by Friar’s speech: “Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,/ So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies/ Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes/ Jesu Maria! What a deal of brine/ Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline” (2. 3. 66-70). According to Hager, Romeo has exchanged Rosaline for Juliet but Shakespeare didn’t allow him to go painlessly as the Friar gave Romeo the play’s most severe moral lecture (9).
One day ago, Romeo was weeping for Rosaline that tears had washed his cheeks. Today, Romeo forgot Rosaline and is requesting marriage with Juliet, showing his fickleness and faithlessness as he can switch from loving someone to another after one night. Through Friar’s comment, Romeo’s love changed so quickly because it is not truly in his heart but in his eyes, showing that if he met someone more beautiful than Juliet, then he might fall in love with her and forget about Juliet immediately.
His faithlessness partially contributed to the tragic ending as he was too fast to switch to Juliet and was determined to marry her the next day, causing a plot complication because the families from both sides were never informed and the feud was never settled until Romeo and Juliet’s deaths, which continued to cause problems as the fight caused Romeo’s banishment and Lord Capulet insisted that Juliet marry Paris. In onclusion, Romeo’s foolishness, feminism, and faithlessness were clearly demonstrated through his actions throughout the play, undermining audience’s sympathy toward Romeo as many of his tragic flaws finally contributed to the tragic ending of the play, resulting in the deaths of him and his lover. Works Cited Gleed, Paul. How to Write about William Shakespeare. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Hager, Alan. Understanding Romeo and Juliet. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Glencoe Literature. Ed. Beverly Ann Chin. Columbus: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc, 2003. 560-691.