The language in Romeo and Juliet Essay
William Shakespeare is recognised as one of literature’s great influences. Very little is known about him and what is known is found from all sorts of written events in his life.William was born in 1564 in the time of Queen Elizabeth when England was fighting wars for freedom and Catholics and Protestants had to try and learn to live together as Englishmen. He had three sisters and three brothers and his father John Shakespeare and mother Mary Arden and was born and brought up in a flourishing little country town of Sratford-upon-Avon in south-central England of perhaps two thousand inhabitants. It had a mix of rich and poor but mostly rich who went about their everyday lives gossiping about the battles which Britain was facing at that present time.Then there was the small matter of the great plague, which broke out in Stratford in July and lasted for six months, killing nearly one sixth of the population. William though and the rest of his family were lucky enough to live through it and how lucky are we that he did. It is thought he attended King’s New Grammar School although it is also thought he might never have gone to school. Whatever he did he must have been educated well as he grew up to become one of the best playwrights and poets ever.In 1582 (aged 18) he married Anne Hathaway (Aged 26). Overall William Shakespeare wrote a remarkable thirty-seven plays and also a huge number of poems in a period of about twenty years. Another thing about Shakespeare which amazes me is that he plays and poems is the vast amount of categories in which his plays and poems fall under. For instance he would write comedies, historical and tragedies and that is just his plays let alone his poems and this to me really shows how talented William Shakespeare was and this is why he is still renowned as a genius to this very day.He wrote such plays as Macbeth, Hamlet and A Midsummer Nights Dream all of which were huge with the audiences in Britain and soon his work was becoming very well known and people would come from all over to see his performances. His plays were expected to be of immensely high standard at the time of their release and he never once failed to live up to his expectations with one masterpiece after the other. This is another reason why his work was so well loved, Audiences knew that whatever Shakespeare play they were going to see it would be brilliant from start to finish. The Audiences responses at that would time and even though were that of astonishment. Most of these were acted in London and probably at the Globe Theatre.In 22 years, between 1590 and 1612 As you know Shakespeare wrote a total of 37 types of play and his plays were famous and loved for their surprise endings. Shakespeare’s English, is really just an old complicated version of the language that we speak today. Although the Elizabethan language spoken back then differs slightly from Modern English, the principles are generally the same. There are certainly many words used in Shakespeare which are still used with the same meaning and feeling then they were then and even some of his famous phrases which he used in his famous plays are used as everyday expressions in today’s society. As the language shifted from Middle to Early Modern English, it was still a bit more flexible, and Shakespeare wrote dramatic poetry, not standard work, which gave some greater license in expression. However, this beautiful language (Elizabethan) used so well in many of Shakespeare’s works remains very similar to our own language and it is easy to translate and understand.The way in which William Shakespeare used and altered this ancient language to work so well in his works is why he is still as well known and loved as he was in his own day and age in his prime. I will now tell you about and explain the meaning of some of the poetic devices that Shakespeare used in his works. Fist of all he used metaphors, these are figures of speech in which one person, thing or idea is described as If it were another e.g. when Juliet’s father is furious with her for refusing to marry Paris he says graze where you will, you will not house with me.He is talking to her as if she is an animal and this shows how he really feels about her. In Shakespeare metaphors are often used in anger and to show up someone ore something. Similes are another device used. This is a comparison between two things, which the writer makes clear by using words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’. E.g. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden These are often used in Shakespeare’s works when someone is trying to make something clear and important.. Personification is also used. This means when u refer to a thing or idea as if it were a person.E.g. come, gentle night. Come, loving, black-browed night, Give me my Romeo. Personification is often used romantically in Shakespeare. Alliteration is my favourite as this is when a number of words close together to each other begin with the same sound in a sentence e.g. When the sun sets the earth doth drizzle dew (I love the sound of that line). Shakespeare really makes use of the words well when using Alliteration often romantically. Finally oxymorons where a sentence combines two ideas that are opposites e.g. Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health. What I like about oxymorons in Shakespeare is that they usually have a startling or unusual effect.One of his most well known plays was a Romantic Tragedy called Romeo and Juliet which was about two young lovers who were in two different families called the Capulets and the Montagues. These two families hated each other’s guts and the play is about Romeo and Juliet fighting to be with each other, which of course the families are totally against.Mr personal view on the play is that apart from the great story line is that there is a lot to be learned from it. You could say they were too young to know the true meaning of love and that their surnames is what kept them and the two families apart just like a label. Also it says to me that you should listen to the advice you are given. I mean think what would have happened if the two families had listened to the Prince of Verona and made peace then Tybalt and Mercutio would not have died. Also if Romeo and Juliet had listened to the advice given to them by the Friar about acting hastily and irrational then they would not have died so young. Finally the last to things I have learned from the play are that you should seek revenge and don’t act hastily (without thinking). Both families were seeking revenge for things that had happened before they were even born hundreds of years before.But they were both too stubborn to forgive and forget. Then there is Romeo and Juliet who should have thought about what they were getting themselves into before doing it. To be honest personally I do not think they were really in love as love is something permanent and at their young age like me they could not have been truly in love after just one conversation. It was like they were in love with the fact that they were in love if you see what I mean. Now I will now talk to you about Shakespeare’s language and the different techniques he uses. In most of Shakespeare’s works he uses blank verse (unrhymed), poetic verse (rhymed) and prose.Most of Shakespeare’s plays are in blank verse (unrhymed). This is mainly used by characters who speak noble characters who speak more eloquently (well said) to show their feelings and moods. The main part of Romeo and Juliet is written in blank verse (iambic pentameter) and is written in lines of ten syllables, with a pattern sometimes repeated of weak and strong beats e.g. in fair Verona where we lay our scene. But if Shakespeare had made every line like this then the play would have become very boring so he changes and varies the rhythm in a number of ways. He often changes the pattern of weak and strong slightly.So the verse of the play has a strong but varied rhythm so they are blank (this is where the term blank verse comes from). In his works Shakespeare also uses poetic verse (rhymed). This is where Shakespeare uses a pattern of rhymed lines or maybe just two (A rhyming couplet). Rhyming couplets are often used to end a scene and round it off e.g. Romeo: Farewell. Though canst not teach me to forget. Benvolio: I’ll die in doctrine, or else die in debt. But also in the middle of scenes it is used and often in a much more complicated way often too express feelings and at times or importance. Another form of rhyming verse Shakespeare uses are sonnets which are a popular form of love poems when characters are talking to each other about love.They a made up in a certain pattern, a sonnet is a fourteen line, ten syllable love poem where the first eight lines rhyme and are then followed by a rhyming couplet. Finally another style of language which Shakespeare uses in his works is called prose. In some scenes characters speeches are not written in blank or poetic verse, but in ordinary sentences. You will see that prose is used for certain characters in certain situations.For example fights where the language is split up by interruptions of one another and tension is common for prose to be used as it makes them look worried, afraid and insecure. Also it would not be right to have blank or poetic verse in the middle of a fight where people are trying to kill each other. More ordinary people of lower ranks sometimes for comedy or plot developments and speech that does not need real dramatic intensity use prose. Now on to the main part of the essay where I will be comparing the romantic language used by Romeo to the more prosaic language used by Juliet’s nurse. In my comparisons I have tried to choose an occasion when they are talking about similar subject matter and sometimes when they are talking to each other.My first comparison is from Act 2 Scene 4 when Romeo and the nurse are talking to each other. First of all the nurse says this to Romeo “I pray you sir, what saucy merchant was this that was so full of his ropery?” To which Romeo replies “A gentleman, Nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, and will speak more in a minute than he will stand in a month.” This is a conversation about Romeo’s friends Mercutio and Benvolio after they had been teasing the nurse by suggesting that the nurse wants to make an improper suggestion to Romeo.Mercutio actually suggests in jest that she keeps a house for prostitutes (brothel) which deeply offends the nurse. In the above sentence by using the word “saucy” you can tell that the nurse is quite cheeky in the way that she is speaking at this time about Mercutio. Also you can sense that she speaks in a comical way. Romeo on the other hand speaks in a much more polite and formal way as he explains that his friend Mercutio talks non stop. Romeo uses a comparison in his answer.In Act 3 Scene 3 the nurse arrives with news of Juliet at Friar Lawrence’s cell where Romeo and says to the Friar “let me come in, and you shall no my errand. I come from Lady Juliet.” This is direct speech full of urgency. Then in her next speech describes Juliet as “Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering.” She continues to go into detail about Juliet’s state over Tybalts death.Romeo tries to interrupt her but she carries on and in a dramatic fashion she says “Ah sir, ah sir, death’s the end of all.” Romeo replies “Spakest thou of Juliet? How is it with her? Doth not she think me an old murderer, Now I have stained the childhood of our joy. With blood removed but little from her own? Where is she? And how doth she? And what says My concealed lady to our cancelled love? His language is very formal with words like “spakest”, “thou” and “doth” where as the nurses language is repetitive and more direct.Now is a encounter between the two in Act 1 Scene 5 after Romeo and Juliet have just kissed each other. The nurse interrupts them as she can see what is happening and is concerned and she says “Madam your mother craves a word with you.” The Nurse is making an excuse to detach Juliet from Romeo. Romeo asks “What is her mother?” the Nurse replies “Her mother is the lady of the house, And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous. I nursed her daughter that you talked withal. I tell you, he that can lay hold of her shall have the chinks.”This means whoever wins Juliet will be wealthy. Romeo in a state of shock “is she a Capulet? O dear account, my life is my foe’s debt.” You can see by comparing the length of the two speeches that the Nurse speaks a lot but without really getting to the point and in a comical fashion that Juliet is a Capulet. Romeo on the other hand talks direct and to the point saying that his love is an enemy (Capulet) to the Montagues (Romeo’s family).My final comparison between the two takes place in Act 2 Scene 4 when the nurse arranges with Romeo that Juliet will go to Friar Lawrence’s cell that afternoon to be married. He says “Nurse, commend me to thy lady and mistress. I, protest unto thee” Butting in the nurse says “Good heart, and i’ faith, I will tell her as much. Lord, Lord, she will be a joyful women” To which Romeo replies “What wilt thou tell her, Nurse? Thou dost not mark me. “These quotes show that Romeo is becoming impatient with the nurse as she does not appear to be listening to him. In her speech she appears to be teasing him. He says “I protest unto thee” showing how desperate he is to try and make the nurse listen. She teases him by digressing about how happy Juliet will be by saying, “she will be a joyful women.” Afterwards Romeo explains to the nurse that he will marry Juliet that afternoon at the Friar’s cell.In these comparison I have tried to pick out speeches from the two where you can really see the difference between the two. You can see how their language is totally different from each others in certain situations and you can easily see how different the two characters are and how they have been made to act in totally different ways.My opinion on what Shakespeare is trying to do with the two characters is that the nurse is the comic character of this tragedy She provides light relief in this very complexed and sad play. Her language is the common language of the time for instance she uses words like saucy which means cheeky or sexy. Her language portrays the language of a fool (which Shakespeare has in most of his works e.g. the drunk porter in the tragedy Macbeth). Also the nurse seems to use a large amount of words when a few will do and sometimes she finishes a sentence after using a stupidly large amount of words without actually getting to the point. Romeo’s language however shows a higher level of intelligence as he comes from a privileged background. His speech is quite formal, polite and mature.His speech to Juliet is romantic and beautiful and poetic where as when he talks to other it is more urgent and to the point. He uses short sentences that get to the point straight away. Overall Shakespeare uses the nurse for a character which will provide entertainment to the audience which she did at the time and Romeo is there as a main character who is serious and displays a range of emotions and knowledge in his language. Finally I will say that the nurses language is coarse (rough) and his is refined showing the difference between their status saying that he is upper class and she is middle class. That is why the characters are so different in Romeo and Juliet.