Romeo is one of the main protagonists of William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, a descendant of Lord and Lady Montague, falls in love and secretly marries a young girl called Juliet, a descendant of Lord and Lady Capulet, who of which happen to be the rival family.
Throughout the duration of the play, both Romeo and Juliet make the journey from childhood to adulthood in result of their love for each other. Romeo’s character didn’t change significantly after he met Juliet. The main differences that can be seen are he doesn’t show any interest or have any second thoughts about Rosaline, and his language becomes very powerful to help reflect his love and desire for Juliet. However, this is the opposite with Juliet as her character changes drastically. She begins to talk in sentences with hidden meanings. “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move”. Throughout the play, she is forever maturing, becoming a strong-minded, loyal and capable woman every man needs.
Romeo is a well-respected young man in Verona. At the start of the play he is portrayed as a love-struck comic lover. Romeo is about 16 years of age, he’s intelligent, handsome and very in touch with his feelings. However, Romeo can be seen as weak, as every situation he is faced with, he cries. For example, when his banishment was issued, he made a poor attempt to kill himself. “Stand up, stand up, stand, and you be a man;” (Nurse) Or when he ignored the note telling him that Juliet’s death was a hoax and ended up killing himself. Whereas Juliet is the opposite, she is an innocent, naïve teenager who has never given love a thought, “It is an honour I dream not of.” Juliet is presented as submissive and soft, though she harnesses a secret inner strength that even she does not know of which allows her to have maturity beyond her years, despite being only 13 years of age.
The couple’s relationship was first formed when they first met at the Capulets annual ball and it was love at first sight. Romeo says “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” This represents Romeo’s understanding of love as he based his opinions off of appearances, and Juliet did the exact same thing. “My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words of thy tongue’s uttering, yet I know the sound.” This tells the reader, the two know absolutely nothing about each other, let alone that they are from opposing families, but believe they are in love.
Although they both believe they have found true love, Juliet doesn’t allow love to blind her as she is still able to stop, point out and criticize Romeo’s actions and decisions. In act two scene 2 where the famous balcony scene took place, Juliet says to Romeo “It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden.” Whereas Romeo is completely blinded by love. For example, love came over him and forced him to sneak on to the grounds of a sworn enemy risking his life just to catch a glimpse of her. Juliet says this to Romeo by saying “The place death, considering who thou art… if any kinsmen find thee here.” Suggesting that Juliet is the stronger character out of the pair
In act three, after Romeo and Juliet have got married, a fight breaks out between Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend and Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. Tybalt won by killing Mercutio catching him off guard. Romeo is described to be a character who lacks emotional restraint, so without thinking, anger compelled him to avenge Mercutio’s death by killing Tybalt, realising after the severity of his actions. Juliet’s reaction to this was “My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain; And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband. All this is comfort.” This shows Juliet’s loyalty towards Romeo as he has just killed her cousin, yet she is still upholding her vows which shows true love. It also shows once again who is the stronger character.
Juliet’s loyalty for Romeo gets tested once again once her father forces her to marry Paris, but for the first time in her life, she speaks back to her parents causing a huge fight. Even at her worst time when she felt most isolated, after the nurse had turned her back on Juliet telling her to forget about Romeo as he is gone, but even then, she still tried her best to be with him no matter what the cost. “Romeo is banish’d, and all the world nothing That he dares ne’er come back to challenge you;” So she told the nurse that she would go to see Friar Lawrence, the man who wedded the couple, to make confession because she has caused her parents pain by disappointing them, but she was actually going to see him so they could hatch a plan so the “star crossed-lovers” could be together.
Friar Lawrence gave Juliet a potion for an ‘unnatural death’ where she would appear dead, so she could sneak off and live happily ever after with her true love. “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, And this distilling liquor drink thou off, When presently through all thy veins shall run A cold and drowsy humour; for no pulse.” However, this came with an immense price, it was that she would have to cut off all links to her prior moorings, and she did just that, leaving her mother and father, nurse, house, friends and position in Verona to be with Romeo, showing spectacular levels of strength, courage, love and loyalty. However, once again Romeo’s emotions got the best of him, as soon as he heard that Juliet’s ‘dead’, he rushed back to Verona from Mantua after his banishment risking death. Romeo made this journey knowing he would die one way or another, he would be killed by the kinsmen or suicide, and suicide it was.
Although Romeo and Juliet made sacrifices for each other with their lives, one showed more courage than the other. Romeo killed himself with a painless poison, which wasn’t hard to do as he had to just drink it. But when Juliet woke from her ‘unnatural death’ to find her husband dead, she didn’t kill herself out of feminine weakness, but out of true love. Her way of suicide took a lot more courage than Romeo’s as yes, she did try to kiss some poison off of his lips but that didn’t work as there wasn’t a sufficient amount. So, she drew his dagger and impaled it in herself. Juliet’s death was more thought out and required more strength than Romeo’s that she was clearly able to provide and he wasn’t. This once again shows the reader who was the strongest character out of the couple as she was the one who matured the most and the one that had to make the most sacrifices for their future.