Romeo and Juliet is a story of two doomed teenage lovers whose fate ends in tragedy. In modern times the name Romeo has become nearly synonymous with “lover”. Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet, does indeed experience a love of such purity and passion that he believes he can no longer live and decides to take his own life when he believes that the object of his love, Juliet, has died. The power of Romeo’s love, however, often obscures a clear vision of Romeo’s character, which is far more complex. He is an emotional, juvenile, brave character that makes very impulsive, rash decisions. Romeos character changes drastically throughout the play due to his character traits, strong influences from others and determination Romeo is a free spirited youth age 16 living in 17th century Verona, Italy. In the beginning of the play Romeo is described as a young depressed and lonely boy. Romeo is first mentioned as an aimless wanderer preoccupied with thoughts of Rosaline. Rosaline, the woman with whom Romeo is first infatuated with, is never seen in the play it but is said by other characters to be very beautiful and has sworn to live a life of chastity. He spends most of his time sighing over his depressing and virtually nonexistent love life. Though he is first obsessed and supposedly in love with Rosaline, when describing her he only speaks on her physical appearance and beauty rather than her intelligence or the reasons why he loves her. Romeo is a great reader of love poetry, and the portrayal of his love for Rosaline suggests he is trying to re-create the feelings that he has read about. Throughout this play, Romeo’s relationship with Rosaline is passive. He never speaks to her or takes any decisive action to charm or flatter his lady love. He spends his time in anguish, wavering between simplistic adulation and utter despair. Furthermore, Romeo spends a great deal of time in limbo, thinking about a woman who does not reciprocate his feelings. Despite Benvolio’s urging, the lovesick teen will not move on or consider the merits of other women. However, when Romeo see’s Juliet it is love at first sight as if their eyes locked and they knew they were meant to be together, a passion Romeo never truly saw with Rosaline. In reference to Rosaline, it seems, Romeo loves by the book. Rosaline, of course, slips from Romeo’s mind at first sight of Juliet. Romeo’s love matures over the course of the play from the shallow desire to be in love to a profound and intense passion due to Juliet. Despite Romeo’s great declarations of love for Rosaline, his feelings are actually fleeting, as shown by his behavior when he spies young Juliet. Despite Juliet being a part of the Capulet family with whom Romeo’s father has had a longstanding feud with Romeo still decides to pursue his feeling for Juliet. Romeo’s deep feelings for Juliet are very different from the shallow love he has felt for other woman, including Rosaline. This genuine love makes him bold, and he is prepared to take any risk for Juliet. He bravely goes into her garden after the party, even though he chances being caught and punished. His risk is repaid when he hears Juliet express her love for him as well. Realizing that their interest in each other is both reciprocal and sincere, Romeo presses Juliet for vows of love. After they agree to get married, Romeo rushes to Friar Lawrence to ask him to marry the young couple. During this point of the play Romeo and Juliet have only recently met which speaks on Romeo’s hasty and emotional behaviors. After marrying, Romeo’s relationship with Juliet becomes even complex and involves many factors other than themselves. An important moment occurs when Romeo encounters his old enemy Tybalt, who he is now related to by marriage.
Romeo’s love for Juliet softens him towards all Capulets. In fact, when Tybalt insults him, Romeo keeps his cool and does not respond. Romeo now cares more about maintaining Juliet’s safety and making sure they remain together. Unfortunately, Romeo eventually responds to Tybalt’s challenge and kills him in a fight. In the scene that Romeo kills Tybalt, he is being sensible to begin with, with Romeo trying to break up a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio. But this ends badly with Tybalt killing Mercutio. This act triggers Romeo as we can tell and acts with yet another on-the-spot decision with Romeo killing TybaltFor this murder, Romeo is banished to Mantua and separated from his new bride. The thought of being separated from his bride drives Romeo into such depression that he tries to take his own life. Friar Lawrence counsels Romeo he must learn patience. Unfortunately, he never does. When he receives word, mistakenly, that Juliet is dead, Romeo is devastated and immediately decides to join her. Such extreme behavior dominates Romeo’s character throughout the play and contributes to the ultimate tragedy that befalls the lovers. Romeo’s hastiness is his downfall, had Romeo restrained himself from killing Tybalt, or waited even one day before killing himself after hearing the news of Juliet’s death, matters might have ended happily. In the same manner, when he hears of Juliet’s death from Balthazar, he purchases a powerful poison and kills himself without a second thought. Of course, though, had Romeo not had such depths of feeling, the love he shared with Juliet would never have existed in the first place. Because of this incredible love for Juliet and desire to be with her for eternity, Romeo has been identified as one of the world’s greatest lovers. Mercutio’s role in the play is just as pivotal and important as that of Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio is the Prince’s kinsman, but more importantly, he is Romeo’s friend and confidant. Mercutio was the one who persuaded Romeo to go to the party in the first place. Act 1, scene 4, is all about Mercutio telling Romeo to go to the party, and give love another chance. This interaction is what sets off the course of events for the rest of the play. However when Mercutio finds out Romeo is in love with Juliet Mercutio’s concern is for Romeo and for peace between the two families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Mercutio is the first to see that Romeo is deeply in love. Mercutio shows his concern and expresses it to Romeo. He does not want Romeo to marry his mistress, Juliet, because he knows it will cause trouble between the two families. Mercutio’s death, after his fight with Tybalt, is what changed the play from a comedy to a tragedy. Mercutio wants both houses to suffer for their immaturity and meaningless fighting. Death was the outcome. Mercutio’s cry was the unintentional wake-up call both houses needed. Without his death, Romeo wouldn’t have killed Tybalt, which wouldn’t have led to him getting banished, which wouldn’t have led to Romeo’s and Juliet’s death. Mercutio, in his own way, set the dominos falling. Juliet also had a strong influence on Romeo. Many of Romeo’s hasty decisions are due to his feelings for Juliet. At the play’s beginning however she seems merely an obedient, sheltered, naïve child. When Juliet is first introduced she insist that marriage is not even on her mind. When Lady Capulet mentions Paris’s interest in marrying Juliet, Juliet dutifully responds that she will try to see if she can love him, a response that seems childish in its obedience and in its immature conception of love. However, the minute she meets Romeo, she’s sending her nurse to find out if he’s married. Juliet’s first meeting with Romeo propels her full-force toward adulthood.
Juliet’s relationship with Romeo, is far different than any other she has ever had. When Juliet sees Romeo at the Capulet’s party, she instantly falls in love with him. Within a matter of hours, Romeo becomes the single most important person in her life. She decides that she wants to marry Romeo, but she knows that he is a Montague, and Montagues are hated among the Capulets. She knows that a relationship between a Montague and a Capulet could never realistically work out, but her immediate infatuation for him far exceeds any line of logical thinking. The only moment in the entire play that Juliet feels against Romeo is when finding out about Romeo killing Tybalt, her cousin. But this is felt only momentarily before she realizes that she is on Romeo’s side throughout anything, as long as they are together. Though profoundly in love with him, Juliet is able to see and criticize Romeo’s rash decisions and his tendency to romanticize things. Not only does Romeo influence Juliet, Juliet influences Romeo. After putting herself in a death like coma, to get out of her marriage with Paris, Juliet causes Romeo to kill himself because of his belief that he cannot live without her. At first glance, one may look over the character of Friar Laurence and dismiss him as only a minor player in the story of Romeo and Juliet. However, upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that the Friar plays an essential role in the development of the play and is notable for moving the action along. At the beginning of the play, he is very close with Romeo and considers Romeo to be his pupil.
Romeo considers Friar Laurence someone he can confide in, and therefore tells him about his newfound love, Juliet, as soon as possible. The Friar, however, is not convinced. However, he agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet in the hope that their marriage will heal the rift between the Montagues and the Capulets. His decision to marry the lovers is well-meaning but shows that he has been naive in his assessment of the feud and hasn’t reflected on the implications of Romeo and Juliet’s fraudulent marriage. The centrality of the Friar’s role suggests a notable failure of parental love. Romeo and Juliet can’t tell their parents of their love because of the quarrel between the two families. This first exposure to the Friar shows his careful, wise manner and his obvious care for Romeo’s best interests. This characterization of Friar Laurence stands firm throughout the play, as he attempts to guide Romeo and Juliet during their struggles. The Friar’s reasons for all his actions in the play are initially to bring peace, and secondly to bring happiness to Romeo and Juliet.