In the first two acts of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is presented as a young, love struck man. He is a dreamer and a fantasist. The audience feels sympathetic towards him because love is taking him nowhere.
In Act 1, we first meet Romeo as he is sobbing about his love for a young lady, who we later find out to be Rosaline. The first line he speaks, “Is the day so young?”, suggests that he is bored and waiting for something to happen as he is so shocked about how early it is in the day. To emphasise this, he goes on to say, “Ay me, sad hours seem so long”. Benvolio asks Romeo why he is sad and he explains that he is sad because he has no love and his line, “Out of here favour where I am in loves” shows that the person he loves does not love him.
This is how the audience first learns of Romeo’s love struck ness. To show even more how love struck and sad Romeo is, he admits it to himself when he says, “This is not Romeo, he is some other where.” Benvolio asks him to “examine other beauties” to cure his love sickness. But Romeo says that if his eyes see anything more beautiful than Rosaline, then “turn tears to fires”. This shows that Romeo is very single-minded on Rosaline and believes that no one could be more beautiful than her.
On the way to the Capulet’s party, Romeo is presented as upset and a spoil sport. He explains that he has a “soul of lead” which “stakes [him] to the ground [he] cannot move”. This shows that he is very serious about his love for Rosaline and feels his sadness as a heavy weight on him, not allowing him to have fun, but to grieve. Reluctantly, Romeo agrees to go to the party in the hope that he will find Rosaline.
At the Capulet’s party, Romeo finds another girl, Juliet, and is entranced by her beauty. He asks himself, “Did my heart love till now?”. This line suggests that he completely falls in love with Juliet and asks himself whether he did love Rosaline or whether he had just got it into his head. This shows that Romeo was very single-minded and a sudden link is made between him and Juliet. However, as Romeo is so absorbed by Juliet he looses his disguise. When Tybalt, a keen Capulet, finds out about this and becomes very angry, describing Romeo as a “villain Montague” because he has gate crashed the Capulet’s party. This shows that Tybalt is an enthusiastic Capulet and believes Romeo is of the opposite being. But Capulet himself is in a very jolly mood and he describes Romeo as a “portly gentlemen” and a “well-governed youth”, showing that Capulet’s beliefs of Romeo is that he is a dignified and well behaved young man.
Romeo is also described as a handsome and gentle young man. This is shown in Act 2, as the Nurse described Romeo as “his face be better than any man’s” and “gentle as a lamb”. This shows that there are different views of Romeo from different characters but, in general, Romeo is presented as a young, handsome and brave young man who is a distant part of his feud-orientated family.
As soon as Romeo falls in love with Juliet a sudden link is made between them. The way they speak is very poetic and in verse, as if they know exactly what to say next. Also, Romeo is presented as religious when he compares his lips to “two blushing pilgrims”.
Romeo is presented as a quite sensible young man and, unlike Benvolio and Mercutio, he doesn’t joke about and mess around. He also doesn’t seem to be part of the dispute between the Capulet’s and Montague’s, showing how keen his is on love. On the other hand, as soon as Romeo and Juliet fall in love they become trapped in their own world and don’t mention much about their families being enemies. Romeo sometimes risks his life and many consequences in order to see Juliet, showing how much he truly loves her.
Romeo is also presented as a risky and completely taken in man. At the end of Act 2, Romeo agrees to marry Juliet, but neither the Capulet’s nor Montague’s no about it. This is very risky for Romeo and Juliet and Romeo seems to dismiss the consequences because he is so taken in by Juliet. To make things even more secretive, Romeo arranges for a rope ladder to be sent to the excited Nurse, so that Romeo can climb into Juliet’s room to get married.
In conclusion, Acts 1 and 2 of Romeo and Juliet presents Romeo as, at first, a fantasists and love struck man. By the end of Act 2, he is seen as a very entranced and risky man, showing his devotion of love towards Juliet.
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