We are introduced to Romeo at the beginning of the play in a conversation between Montague and Benvolio. Even from this early stage, it is apparent to us that Romeo is a romantic, having been seen “an hour before the worshipped sun” had risen, walking beneath “the grove of sycamore” in a sickened state, sighing deeply with “tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew. ”
We also learn from this brief discussion that he has been hiding himself away in his room, shutting up his windows and locking out the daylight, in an attempt to create an “artificial night. When Romeo finally does appear, he comes across as a sad, melancholic, apathetic youth and declares that he’s in love with a girl who doesn’t return his affections, saying he is ‘out of her favour where I am I love. ‘ He talks to Benvolio about how he feels inside, but talks in rhyming couplets which make his words seem like a well rehearsed speech rather than a true expression of emotional torture and anguish.
This artificiality of his speech makes it seem forced rather than from the heart and conveys the idea that he is more in love with the concept of love itself, rather than actually experiencing the feeling of love. Also, throughout that scene he uses oxymoron (e. g. “brawling love,” and “loving hate”) which conveys a rather melodramatic quality in his personality. When he discovers the news of the ball at the Capulet mansion, it is Benvolio who has to persuade Romeo to attend, demonstrating Romeo’s lack of boldness.
When he does go, he goes in search of Rosaline, the girl of his infatuation, but he seems to forget her almost immediately upon seeing Juliet, which shows the weightlessness of his ‘love’ towards Rosaline. He falls instantly in love with Juliet, comparing her to glowing lights and rich jewels, and says that she is “a dove trooping with crows” before even talking to her. This conveys his desire to be in love and his slightly immature and superficial attitude to it.
Also, his language and behaviour is still seemingly forced, with Juliet commenting “you kiss th’book” However, he uses many religious references when talking to her, using words like shrine, pilgrim, holy and sin in his speech and calling her a “dear saint. ” As the play progresses, Romeo develops into a more mature character, talking less rigidly and more from the heart, and emerging from the darkness of his earlier sadness into a dynamic and courageous character. It is at this point that Romeo reaches his peak.
When he speaks with Juliet below her balcony he compares her to the stars, the sun and heaven, and describes her as a “winged messenger of heaven”. This language indicates the strength of his feelings towards Juliet, as if their love was sent down from heaven by God himself, and the description of their love as We see his true depth of love for Juliet when he says he would rather be caught by the guards and have his life “ended by their hate, than by death prorogui?? d, wanting of thy love,” an ominous note for the action about to unfold.
Their reluctance in parting, with Juliet saying “parting is such sweet sorrow,” shows how much they want to be together. Later, when Tybalt, unaware that Romeo and Juliet are now married, challenges Romeo to a duel, we witness Romeo’s emergence from an impulsive, impetuous boy into a sensible, level-headed man by refusing to fight Tybalt, and even trying to make peace with him by saying “good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied”. However, his composure is soon spent, when he kills Tybalt to avenge the death of Mercutio, and declares “O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate”.
This momentary lapse sets in motion the tragedy of the play. When Romeo hears he has been sentenced to banishment his reaction is that of distress. He becomes almost hysterical, announcing that “there is no world without Verona’s walls,” and that he has been “banished from the world,” his world being, of course, Juliet. He declares his jealousy that even “everything unworthy thing” may look upon Juliet whilst he may not. He falls to the ground and openly weeps, showing his lack of fear of expressing his feelings, and tries to stab himself.
Whilst this may be an action of his true passion for his love of Juliet, it also shows his lack of sense and maturity, and he is only calmed down when the Friar rebukes him for his lacked of intelligence and masculinity. Also, his lack of questioning to the Friar’s plans shows his naivety and lack of practicality. After this, he visits Juliet at her bedroom, defying the order of banishment, and facing death if he is caught. This shows how much he wants to be near Juliet, and is not scared of death (for death, in the end, will bring them together eternally).
His actions later, when he goes to the apothecary to buy poison upon hearing of Juliet’s ‘death’, are decisive in the fact that he has made up his mind quickly, showing what he feels in his heart, but are also foolish for not thinking of the consequences. This confident and certain yet irrational and hasty behaviour displays the spirit of youth, and the rapid pace of life that comes with it. It also shows his desire to join Juliet in death, a great show of honour to his wife.
When he goes to the tomb to be by Juliet’s side, he is challenged by Paris, and, unaware who is attacking him, slays him. However, Romeo does not do this in cold blood but rather in self-defence, and when he finds out who he has killed, he shows great remorse, saying he’ll “bury thee in a triumphant grave,” signalling the re-emergence of his mature behaviour. Romeo’s last actions, the act of suicide rather than live without Juliet, is the ultimate display of loyalty for his love of Juliet and illustrates that his life would no longer have meaning without her, showing his immense love for her.