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In Romeo and Juliet, dreams, visions and premonitions play a very important role. They foreshadow the eventual tragedy, tell us about a character’s view over a particular matter, and reflect underlying messages in the play. They are symbols, telling us about the various themes in the play as well.

An example of a dream foreshadowing the eventual tragic ending of the play is found in Act 1 Scene 4, in which Romeo says that he “dreamt a dream tonight” to his friends Mercutio and Benvolio, while heading to Capulet’s feast. His dream is ominous, and he is fearful of whether his dream will come true, saying that he fears the “vile forfeit of untimely death”. This proves true at the end of the play, as he does eventually die before his time, confirming his premonition. As the dream foreshadows the eventual ending of play, the audience will not be shocked by Romeo and Juliet’s eventual double suicide, seeing that it has been a recurring motif(?) that the lovers, like Romeo in this example, are doing to die.

In the same scene, Mercutio also expresses his view on dreams and desires in his Queen Mab speech. After Romeo says that he dreamt a dream, Mercutio says that he dreamt one as well, but says that “dreamers often lie”. He begins to describe Queen Mab, a fairy which brings to birth the fantasies and and longings of people who sleep, such as lovers. The speech starts out imaginary and whimsical, but starts to take on a grim tone at the end.

Mercutio concludes it, saying that dreams are “children of an idle brain” and is nothing but fantasies and desires, which are inconstant. This shows Mercutio’s view on dreams and desires, which is that they are corrupting and fragile, as compared to Romeo, who thinks dreams and fantasies are quite real and true. His dream acts as a contrast to the real and ennobling love of Romeo and Juliet as well. As such, dreams also tell us about a particular character’s view over a certain matter, and also act as a contrast.

Alright I can’t continue this is too hard. ): I need another example but I think can use Juliet’s Act 4 Scene 1, where she imagines herself in a “charnel-house” with grotesque stuff, or when she hallucinates Tybalt attacking Romeo in Act 4 Scene 3 before she takes the poison (draws parallel to fight with Paris later). Otherwise there is the thing in Act 3 before Romeo leaves for Verona, after he and Juliet consummate their marriage, Juliet envisions him “as one dead in the bottom of a tomb”, another example of a vision foreshadowing the eventual tragedy.

“Romeo remains impulsive and immature to the very end.” How far do you agree with this statement?

Romeo, the protagonist of the play, is often described as an impetuous and immature young man, and this can be seen through the many decisions that Romeo made throughout the course of the play. Although I do acknowledge that Romeo did mature slightly due to the circumstances of the play, I agree with this statement to a very large extent, as Romeo still retains that impulsiveness and immaturity of his, right till his death.

Romeo’s natural impetuosity can be best seen in the fight between him, Mercutio and Tybalt in Act 3 Scene 1. Tybalt had challenged him to a fight, and Romeo refused to do so, hence, Mercutio stepped in for him. After Tybalt kills his friend, Mercutio, Romeo reacts angrily on a whim. Romeo let his emotions, “fire-eyed fury be [his] conduct” (A3S1), and kills Tybalt on impulse, despite his initial refusal to fight Tybalt as Tybalt had just become his kinsman by marriage. Hence, it can be said that Romeo was just as immature even in the middle of the play, as Romeo had no need to “avenge” the death of his friend and kill Tybalt, and was done purely on impulse when he let his emotions get the better of him.

Another example of Romeo’s impulsive and immature nature would be Romeo’s reaction to Juliet’s “death” towards the end of the play, in Act 5 Scene 1. Towards the end of the play, Romeo seems to have lost all sense of reason and acts mostly on impulse. Even when his servant (?), Balthasar advised him to be patient and wait for more news to confirm as to whether Juliet had really died, saying, “[his] looks are pale and wild”, Romeo disregards it and does not heed his advice. He goes on to buy poison from an apothecary, and upon seeing Juliet “dead” in the tomb, does not think twice and kills himself. These show Romeo’s immaturity, as he could have reasoned more, and not commit suicide over thinking that his love was dead, which is unnecessary and based on impulse.

However, Romeo also shows some evidence of him being more reasonable and more mature. In Act 5 Scene 2, when being confronted by Paris outside Juliet’s tomb, Romeo attempts to reason with Paris. He tells Paris to “tempt not a desperate man/…a madman’s mercy bid thee run away”, knowing full well that he has lost nearly all his sense of control following Juliet’s “death” and that he is going to act on impulse. Despite Romeo’s efforts, it can be said that it is a pathetic attempt, as Romeo, after Paris refused to listen to Romeo’s words of caution, killed Paris based on impulse, showing still his immaturity, even up till the end of the play.

As seen, Romeo has, throughout the whole course of the play, demonstrated his impulsive and immature nature. Romeo, though he has matured only slightly with Juliet, still makes childish choices and decisions, and lets his emotions get the better of him. Hence, I agree with the statement to a large extent that Romeo remains impulsive and immature to the very end.

Compare and contrast Romeo’s attitude and feelings towards Rosaline to his subsequent feelings for and relationship with Juliet.

Romeo’s feelings towards Rosaline seem insincere, and his self-professed “love” for Rosaline seems more like a superficial and affected ‘adoration’. His view on love and subsequent feelings for Rosaline is shallow, focusing on Rosaline’s outward beauty, saying that Rosaline “is rich in beauty, only poor/ that, when she dies, with beauty dies her store” (A1S1). The falseness of his feelings for Rosaline is also revealed when he sees Juliet, saying “Did my heart love until now?” (A1S5). He forgets Rosaline immediately, claiming that he had forgotten “that name, and that name’s woe” (A2S3). This shows how Romeo was simply just infatuated with Rosaline, and did not take his “love” for Rosaline very seriously.

Romeo also has a rather melancholic attitude when he had feelings for Rosaline. He is self-despairing, moody and consumed in self-pity, saying that as Rosaline had rejected his advances, “griefs of [his] lie heavy in [his] breast” (A1 S1). He seems also to enjoy his gloomy state, and as said by Lord Montague, “makes himself an artificial night” (A1 S1), seeming to suggest that his sad attitude and feelings are faked. These feelings and attitude is seen in his clichéd use of language to describe his love with Rosaline as well, as seen from him using many oxymorons.

This contrasts with Romeo’s attitude and feelings when he is in a relationship with Juliet, which is shown to be very passionate and deep. He cannot bear to live without Juliet, and Juliet cannot live without him. He is willing to do anything for Juliet, even to the point of denying his family name when Juliet just laments “Deny thy father, refuse thy name” (A2S2), and Romeo replies saying he will “take thee at thy word”. Romeo is willing to sacrifice anything for Juliet, and is generous. He is impatient with Juliet, and his feelings even take over him when he acts on his unbridled passion for Juliet.

As well put by Friar Lawrence, Romeo’s “love” for Rosaline “then lies/not truly in [his] heart, but in [his] eyes” (A2S3), and he had a self-serving and self-centred attitude. Romeo with Juliet, however, is genuine and unselfish. The main contrast is that Romeo’s attitude goes from being self-centred to being selfless with these two women, and that his feelings turn from being shallow to being full of true passion with Rosaline and Juliet respectively.

“Friar Lawrence is neither a wise nor strong character; he is rash, foolish and weak”. Do you agree?

Friar Lawrence, though commonly regarded as the embodiment of reason and is in theory a wise a holy man, has many instances in the play in which he appears rash, weak and makes decisions that are ill-advised. Hence, I agree with the statement to a large extent that the Friar is rash, foolish and weak, but there are times where he gives some wise advice as well.

The Friar’s first rash decision was to marry Romeo and Juliet. In Act 2 Scene 3, when Romeo begged him to solemnize the marriage, he agreed. He hoped to put an end to the ancient feud between the two families, “for alliance may so happy prove/to turn [their] households’ rancour to pure love”.

Despite the Friar’s good intentions at marrying the two lovers, being such a respectable and holy man of a wise age, he ought to know better, and give the right advice to the young lovers. His decision to many them was ill-advised and did not fully consider the consequences and eventual tragedy that his rash decision will cause. Had Romeo & Juliet not been married, the deaths of Tybalt & Mercutio could be prevented (as Romeo is no longer Tybalt’s kinsman) as well as the lovers own deaths, preventing them from taking their own lives due to love.

Another example of a rash decision made by the Friar was his decision to help Juliet evade marriage to Paris and reconcile with Romeo. With Juliets impeding marriage to Paris, the Friar not only does not advise Juliet to forget about suicide, he instead tells Juliet to use “death” to evade marriage to Paris, says to Juliet that if she ‘hast the strength to slay thyself/… [she] will undertake/ a thing like death” (A4S1) to do, hence giving her a potion to make her appear dead in the hope of evading marriage to Paris.

Despite the Friar knowing that this plan is ‘desperate’, he still goes ahead with it and this rash and ill-advised plan leads to the lover’ untimely death. Being the Friar, at such a desperate stage in Romeo & Juliet’s love, he should have counseled the young lovers, as well as their families; he has the authority to do so, being a respected man. Instead, he resorted to such a shady and underhanded ways to reconcile the lovers and prevent Juliet from marrying Paris, which is foolish and also rash of him.

However, the Friar does try to reason as well, notably when he marries them in Act 2 Scene 6, saying that “these violent delights have violent ends/ …Therefore love moderately long love doth so”, telling the two lovers to slow down and not love so passionately. Despite his own warnings, he goes on to marry them and even gets Juliet to agree on his “desperate plan”. At the tomb, after Romeo is found dead, the Friar asks Juliet to leave immediately, and when Juliet delays her leaving, the Friar says he “dares no longer stay” (A5S3) and leaves first, leaving an avenue for Juliet to kill herself. This shows his weak character, as he runs away and saves himself first, not caring for Juliet who is a victim to his unadvised plan.

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