Notes on Romeo and Juliet Themes

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Romeo and Juliet Topic Tracking: Misery

Misery 1: Romeo mourns for the love of Rosaline. His love for her is unrequited and he is miserable. He makes his room appear as though it is night, for light to him, represents love, and he has no love in his life. This misery is in sharp contrast to the love that he feels throughout the play.

Misery 2: Romeo explains to Benvolio his feelings for Rosaline. He says that he is sick in love with her. This love, which is unrequited, makes him miserable, unable to do anything else but pine away for her.

Misery 3: Romeo tells Mercutio that love hurts. He tells him all about his love for Rosaline, but Mercutio ridicules Romeo. Still, Romeo suffers and will be satisfied by simply being able to watch Rosaline from a distance. While this suffering is similar to the suffering Romeo will later feel for Juliet, it is not the same. His misery over Juliet is characterized by true love, while his misery over Rosaline is just an obsession.

Misery 4: Juliet learns that Romeo is a Montague, a family feuding with hers. Heartbroken, she tries to understand why the two families fight, and why her family would hate a boy with the name Montague. She says his name is her enemy, not him as a person.

Misery 5: Juliet finds out that Romeo has been banished from Verona. She is grief-stricken, and associates his banishment with death. To her, without Romeo around, he might as well be dead. Juliet's misery is in sharp contrast to the love that she feels for Romeo throughout the play.

Misery 6: Romeo learns of his own banishment from Verona from the friar. He is horrified at the thought of not being able to see Juliet. Similar to Juliet, Romeo also says his banishment is equal to death. It is torture to not be able to see her. There is this strong dichotomy between misery and love throughout the play.

Misery 7: Juliet is anguished at the thought of having to marry Paris, like her father wants her to do. She pleads with her mother to delay the wedding. She says that if her mother does not delay the wedding, then she might as well make the wedding in the Capulet tomb, for she would rather die than marry Paris.

Misery 8: The Nurse comes into Juliet's chamber to wake her up and prepare her for the wedding. She discovers that Juliet is (apparently) dead. Everyone enters, and they all weep and mourn for the loss of Juliet, the Capulet's only child. They weep that it is a hateful and black day, and that with Juliet dead, all of their joys are dead too.

Misery 9: Paris enters the Capulet tomb to bring sweet water and flowers to Juliet. He weeps for her and says that he will come to her tomb every night with flowers and sweet water and weep. Paris' misery over Juliet is similar to the misery that Romeo felt over Rosaline. It is not characterized by true love, rather an obsessive passion.

Misery 10: Lady Montague's grief over Romeo being exiled from Verona is so strong that she dies of this grief. It is more misery than she can bear. Misery is once again related to death. While Romeo and Juliet often say that they are so grief-stricken, they could just die, Lady Montague actually does die from her misery.

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