“Alas that love, whose view is muffled still / Should without eyes see pathways to his will!” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
As of now, our class has just finished the first act of Romeo and Juliet. And just from first impressions, I have to say the play is incredibly fun. It seems that once you get used to the words and other, older elements, the story is extremely funny! All of the characters have these very prominent personalities that are expressed throughout their lines of dialogue and even through their stage actions. I was certainly expecting some humor due to what I had known beforehand, but I didn’t expect myself to get drawn in so easily. While yes, some of the stories characters tell seem a bit on the stranger side, it almost adds personality to the tale.
On the example of personalities, I’ve been assigned within a group of my class to focus on Tybalt and Mercutio throughout the play. These two, though similar in terms of being very passionate and quick to act so far, are still incredibly distinct through Shakespeare’s light twists on phrasing. For example, Tybalt is clearly more angry and seems to take events much more personally. His loyalty drives him in every single word he says, even taking this loyalty to a far enough extreme to butt against the thoughts of his family. In comparison, Mercutio is still very eager and devoted, but seems to be more playful about it. Though his attachment to Romeo is undoubtedly there, Mercutio seems to mold ideas within his words instead of dictating them.
This is best seen through lines from the characters. Tybalt will express himself with lines like, “Now, by the stock and honor of my kin, To strike him dead I hold it not a sin,” and, “I’ll not endure him,” on page 55. This occurs despite Capulet telling him aggressively to calm down and cease his threats. Then to Mercutio on page 43 came quotes such as, “And to sink in it you burden love- Too great oppression for a tender thing,” turning into, “If love be rough with you, be rough with love,” when talking to faithful Romeo. So, while I had gotten two similar character to focus on in broad terms, the small differences of word choice and behaviors seem all the more prominent.
But Mercutio’s talk of love then brings up one of the highest regards of Romeo and Juliet. The play has a clear message of true love at first sight in the lenses of modern society. But to be quite honest, though definitely seeming romantic right away, I do feel that Romeo and Juliet are almost acting in such an eager way due to their current situations. Romeo’s friends are almost pushing him to love another after his woe regarding Rosaline in this act, and my class has recently talked about the side effects, per se, of an existing “break up” mood. This mood, most importantly, relating to dependency and an urge to get into a relationship again. Moreso, if this were to be connected to the modern era in terms of rebellion, Juliet may simply be acting out against the thought of marrying Paris. Or she simply feels forced to fall in love as well by her family’s wishes anyhow.
However, these are just my thoughts of the play so far to act one. A lot can change, and I’m sure to keep questioning and posting throughout the novel. As well, we’ll even be supplementing our reading with some modern adaptations, which are sure to be mentioned along later with Shakespeare in mind.