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Summary: the Light Vs Darkness Motif Inthe Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

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 Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare uses several poetic devices. One of the poetic devices used by William Shakespeare is the light vs darkness motif. In the beginning of the play, light represents the virtues of life like beauty, love and happiness while darkness represents the bad which meant the absence of those virtues. But after Romeo and Juliet met, the values switched and darkness represented love, happiness and beauty. After Romeo visited Juliet’s tomb, the values switched for the last time and light again represented the good. In the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the light vs darkness motif is used where light represents good and darkness bad and the values switch over the course of the play.

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In the beginning of the play, light represented good and darkness represented bad in various ways.Light corresponded to happiness and darkness represented sorrow. We realize this when Montague was talking to Benvolio about Romeo’s depression in the beginning of the play. Romeo would roam around the town the entire night. When the light would come and the day would break out, Romeo would stay alone in his bedroom. He would shut the windows and block the light which represented happiness. Thus, Romeo stayed in darkness due to his depression. This motif helped the audience understand Romeo’s mental state in the beginning of the play. In addition, light represented love and darkness represented abhorrence. This could be proven when Romeo was talking to himself about Juliet under her balcony. 

We know how Romeo would roam around at night, which is represented by the moon, as he could not sleep due to the absence of love in his life. This absence of love was caused due to Rosaline. But now Romeo had fallen in love with Juliet, who is the Sun, and the Sun had risen to kill the moon as it was way more beautiful. Lastly, light acted in place of beauty. One saw this when Romeo first met Juliet and said, “O, she doth teaches torches to burn bright!”. Shakespeare used torches to metaphorize light this time and this light represented beauty. Thus, the torches were full of beauty but Romeo does not compare Juliet to the torches. Instead, Romeo said that Juliet taught the torches how to shine brightly making her the ultimate beauty. The examples above clearly show how light represented the virtues in life like love, happiness and beauty before Romeo and Juliet met.

Romeo and Juliet have just heard a bird sing and Juliet wanted it to be the nightingale. The lark is a bird that sings during day time, and nightingale is a bird that sings during night. Juliet’s happiness is represented by the nightingale as the lovers could only be together during the night. Thus, the nightingale, darkness, represented Juliet’s happiness and the lark, light, represented her sorrow.Furthermore, darkness represented love as their love was wrong and this could be proven when Romeo said to Juliet, “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes”. Literally, this line meant that Romeo could not love Juliet during the day time as he was banished. Romeo could not express his love freely as their love was wrong. In addition, darkness also represented beauty. When Juliet was waiting for Romeo after their marriage.

What Juliet meant was that if one would cut Romeo into little stars, his beauty would illuminate the heaven and make everyone fall in love with night, darkness, which was beautiful due to the stars of Romeo.This would make anyone forget the Sun, light. These examples clearly show how darkness represented love, happiness and beauty since their love was wrong and had created an imbalance in the universe.Romeo said that the grave was a lantern due to the light given out by Juliet. Thus, light represented beauty again while darkness represented absence of beauty. Furthermore, light also acted in place of happiness which could be understood from the last lines in the play by Prince Escalus.The Prince said that the Sun, light, had risen and had brought happiness and peace along with it but none of them could be happy that day due to the death of Romeo and Juliet. Thus we see how the values changed back to their original spots where light represented the good and darkness represented the bad.

In The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare, the light vs darkness motif is used in which light represented good while darkness represented bad and the values switched over the course of the play. 

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