In the play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the author William Shakespeare presents the relationship between the two youths as one that is destined from the start, but in contrast, their love is also ill-fated. Their relationship only lasts for three days all of which they are oblivious to what the future holds for their relationship until their demise. Within the play, it is evident that their relationship is predestined when in the prologue Romeo and Juliet are described to be a ‘pair of star-crossed lovers’, which initially suggests that their relationship was doomed from the start and is due to the dismissive hand of fate, this paired with describing their love as ‘death marked’ only further reflects this idea. The prologue is a sonnet, briefly explaining the play and foreshadows what occurs late on, it takes the form of dramatic irony as the audience already has an idea of what will happen however, the lovers do not know this themselves, supporting the idea that they fail to recognize their destiny which is all in the hands of fate. The use of dramatic irony changes the way the play is viewed as we await their final demise knowing that this is due to their failure to recognize what the future holds for them.
Shakespeare presents their relationship as is based on love at first sight which blossoms into true love between the pair, this is clearly reflected in their first meeting in Act 1 when they both go against all expectations from their family to be together and ultimately in their death in Act 5. In the extract, we see the feeling Romeo experiences reciprocated by Juliet as they are seen to fall in love as soon as they meet, Romeo's feelings towards Juliet are seen as pure and gentle when he says “to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss”. The use of the adjective ‘tender’ illustrates this idea and also when he describes himself as not worthy of Juliet's touch, this is contrasted when Juliet does in fact show interest in him as well and then they later share a kiss. Their relationship grows throughout the play and we see the two fall into true love with each other as they are determined to stay together, almost as if they are meant to be. It is clear that their love may be true for each other when we see Juliet go against her father’s wishes to marry Paris in Act 3 Scene 5: “He shall not make me there a joyful bride!”. As we know children in the Elizabethan era were seen as property and their father was the head of the house, children would very rarely have a choice on who they would wish to marry as this would've been chosen to often secure wealth. However, because Juliet does not conform to this idea, it illustrates her true love for Romeo as she is willing to do this for the sake of their relationship. The ultimate portrayal of their relationship being one of true love is due to their death in Act 5 as after the death of Romeo Juliet feels as though she cannot live her life without him and proceeds to kill herself: “O happy dagger”. By using the adjective ‘happy’ Juliet shows that she is happy to die all for the sake of being with Romeo once again. The reader is left to interpret this as a portrayal of true love as to why else would Juliet go to such a length for a boy with who she had been in a relationship with for three days.
Lastly, Shakespeare presents the growth of the relationship of the two lovers throughout the play as a whole, initially, when they first meet in Act 1 Scene 5, Romeo is seen to woo Juliet as he falls in love with her immediately due to his impulsive nature, this is presented when Romeo claims Juliet's love through religious imagery: “This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: my lips, two blushing pilgrims”. By describing Juliet as a ‘holy shrine’ he is complimenting her and makes her feel valued and by personifying his lips to be ‘pilgrims’ he is referencing religious ideas and beliefs. This appeals to Juliet as she recognizes these ideas and by linking them to their relationship it makes her believe that his love for her is pure and perhaps accepted by God which will make her feel confident in their relationship. As the play progresses, we see a shift in the balance between Romeo's impulsive, persuasive nature and Juliet’s role in their relationship, as it is initially based on Romeo almost manipulating her into loving him in return as she is inexperienced in love. We find this out when she explains that Romeo is her “only love” in Act 1. However, throughout the play, we see Juliet fall into deep, true love with Romeo. But the reader is left to question whether this happens naturally or as a consequence of Romeo's earlier actions and that their relationship may not be the truest form of love. This contradicts the earlier point of their relationship being true love and is almost left up for interpretation by the reader.