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Light and Darkness in Romeo and Juliet

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Light is typically a symbol of purity and hope, it is illumination and intelligence. while dark often represents evil or mystery or fear. Shakespeare, however, inverts both symbols making them the complete opposite of what the audience assumes them to be as the story progresses. In the world of this play, mornings and bright lights are, mostly signs of negativity. Nighttime however is the only time Romeo and Juliet can be together in secret and enjoy the intimate side of being in love. It is the time of the two lovers to finally meet on another. Night pulls them closer whilst mornings pull them apart, two contrasting ideologies of the main theme in this play.

Throughout the play, characters are linked to this theme. In the start of the play, Montague questions Romeo’s depression through dark imagery, setting the mood and tone of the scene. As the storyline thickens, rosaline also seems to be a dark figure as she is not Romeo’s true love, however, Juliet is, who is associated with light as seen through the witty dialogues and wordplay by Romeo in acts 1 and 2. Through this imagery, Shakespeare has also simplified foreshadowing and emphasizes how quickly the two lovers are falling in love which can prove deadly, which it eventually did. The longing for sexual tension is tactfully highlighted through such imagery.

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As the sun sets, Juliet waits for Romeo to come to her bed, in her imagination, the idea of the night is directly linked with the idea of love-making. and it’s not only Juliet, it is in fact the nurse as well who believes night is related to sexual tension. . ‘Bear the burden’ means ‘do the work,’ with an obvious sexual meaning attached to it. This further highlights humor in the play. Through the night, elements of tension, uncertainty, danger, and sudden passion are ever more clear to the audience. Romeo visits Juliet only at night and makes the friar do all the negotiations during the morning. Like the darkness, their love is associated with mystery and emotion. In fact, the day works against them. At the end of their honeymoon night, The lovers must part before morning to ensure that Romeo isn’t caught and killed. In the exposition of this play, Romeo once again associates Juliet with light. For Romeo, Juliet’s presence transforms the dark, gloomy, underground grave into its opposite, a room full of light and joy, a final reminiscence to Juliet’s untimely death.  

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