Essay on the Images of Light and Darkness in Romeo and Juliet

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Wesleyan University
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Research paper
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The purpose of imagery in poetry is to elicit a lively and graphic presentation of a scene that charms as many of the readers minds as possible. It helps the readers imaginativeness to visualize the characters and acts in the literary piece. Shakespeare has used imagery in most of his work. The symbolism of the light versus darkness gets repeated many times in Shakespeares play. The light and dark images are some of the most relentless visual ideas all over the play. Characters, like Benvolio, Romeo, and Juliet display goodness and innocence. Their characters present love. They are frequently seen as a source of light, conversing light, or their scenes take place in the company of light (Hartshorn 111). Characters who display violence, evil, and death get usually associated with darkness. Light get demonstrated as a defeater of dark as well as the representative of purity and optimism. The principal characters in the play, who go through the light believe that this sight will never blow over. It is clear, nevertheless, that When the play comes to an end, darkness has devoured any residual light for the two tragic lovers, that is Romeo and Juliet. The research shows how the light gets presented at most of the highest points in the play, and how darkness gets demonstrated at most of the lowest parts.

Shakespearean plays get occupied with transformative imagery. Shakespeare's works are full of light and dark imagery which are the most widely used forms of representation. Images are used throughout the drama to illustrate Romeos love towards Juliet and vice versa. It also used to convey other characters opinions or feelings. The interaction between light and darkness is one of the utmost frequently recurring image sequence in Romeo and Juliet. For instance, Romeo likens Juliet to the sun all over the play. On first spotting her, Romeo proclaims that she shows the candles how to burn brightly (McKeown, Adam et al. 43). Just like the sun, she can blind the moon with envy. Later in this scene, he says that her eyes look similar to two stars that burn brightly in the heavens (McKeown, Adam et al. 15). Juliet also likens Romeo to a bright light that brightens the darkness. Juliet hopes that if she dies, she wants her Romeo to be cut into tiny stars so that he will make heavens face look so good. Since the night will get illuminated with his brightness, the world would prefer the night and give no attention to the sun (McKeown, Adam et al. 25). The scene tells us that Romeo and Juliet's company lights the dark that surrounds them. It is a muffled glow linked mostly with stars, torches, and the dawn, instead of the sunlight, which is almost lewdly shiny. His use of imagery is pervasive. The love that Romeo and Juliet have for one another grows fully until the two lovers sudden death. The usage of light imagery often represents life, beauty, love, or happiness in this play; whereas the dark imagery represents death, misfortune, shame, and embarrassment through the play. Throughout the day violence and atrocities get committed in their lives, while at night Romeo and Juliet get together in peace. During the second act, Romeo and Juliet admit the love that they have for one another especially when Romeo is trying to escape from Benvolio and Mercutio after the party. When Romeo jumps over a wall and into the Capulet's orchard, Romeo says that Juliet is like the sun (Al-Dabbagh 12). Juliet gets compared to the light in the darkness. She gets seen as an inspiration of hope for Romeo. Romeo describes Juliet with light imagery later too saying that if her eyes were in her head, the illumination of her face would put to shame those of the stars (McKeown, Adam et al. 19). Juliet walks onto her balcony and admits the love she has for Romeo, but when Romeo responds Juliet is startled and confesses to her embarrassment, that even though he knows the mask of the night is on her face, the first blush would be painted her cheek (McKeown, Adam et al. 85). Juliet is embarrassed, and a bit humbled that Romeo did overhear her and now may not want him to reason that she is effortlessly won over. However, the next dawn Romeo goes to check the Mendicant and make the preparations for his marriage. The Mendicant is having a monologue on how the morning has arrived, and he refers to the morn as a smile while the night is a frown (Al-Dabbagh 16). The two lovers, however, confess the love they share for each other under the concealment of the night.

Although light gets traditionally associated with goodness and darkness with evil, in the play, the relationship is more intricate. Romeo and Juliet continuously view each other like sorts of light. Romeo labels Juliet as the sun during one of the balcony scenes whereas Juliet depicts Romeo as a star. But the bond amid light and dark is intricate by the lovers want for the concealment of darkness so that they would be together. Although Romeo and Juliet view each other as some liberating light, for them to shine radiantly, their light needs the contrast of night darkness, to make it mighty. Light imagery is particularly employed to depict Juliet's loveliness, demonstrating to us that he sees her as supplementary to a heavenly being instead of a real woman and that the love he has for her is transcendental. Light imagery gets exclusively included in the famous balcony scene where he sees Juliet at her window. Romeo makes a likeness between Juliet and the sun (Shakespeare 2). However, while their love gets described with light imagery, their meetings always take place at night. One motive is that most sexual activity gets conducted during night hours. But another motive is that the darkness that they indulge their pleasures in is gradually crushing and obliterating their love, just like their families' feud. Their love cannot see the light of the sun, its natural element. Romeo shows this in his paradoxical line, which he describes the breaking of dawn after their dark marriage night. The seamless blending of light and dark makes the play as one with a stimulating motif. But for the young lovers, the night hours are an important motif as well. These evening hours grips all of the noteworthy moments for the two. The two meets, they initiate their love, elope and later commit suicide. The night hours present time when individuals let go of their prohibitions. The same holds true for the two characters in the play. In the night they get bold enough to indulge in their prohibited love but during the day they act like nothing is going on. The evening offers privacy and places away from other people's snooping eyes. Their love can blossom within the darkness. Hence, one realizes that the light and dark imagery can portray beauty, their passion, and also the struggles they are enduring due to their families' hatred.

These two images of lightness and darkness are contrasting. In the second act of scene two, is the famous "balcony scene" from Romeo and Juliet. It is here that the two teenagers first express the love they have for one another. All over the play, one sees how Shakespeare couples two contrasting elements in sharp distinction with each other. In the scene one sees Romeo, in the dark, talking about Juliet, who is his new love even though he should hate her since the feud does not allow him to love her. Romeo and Juliet are brute contrasts that exist in the dispute that has taken over among the senior members of their families. Their love is the testament as to what youth and open minds can dream possible against such a backdrop. Likewise, the very language they use to express their feelings for each other gets cast in these same polarized terms. The light is seen as a healthy and honorable thing, while the dark seems to represent and deepen Romeos depression. This darkness imagery gets associated with Romeos distress, which is caused by Rosaline. Rosaline does not reciprocate Romeos love. Rosaline's character gets associated with darkness. Not because she has depression, like Romeo, but for the reason that she is not the real love for Romeo. She gets also linked with gloom for the idea that she is a brunette. Benvolio compares her appearance with that of a crow (McKeown, Adam et al. 88). Benvolio wants to prove to Romeo that Rosaline isnt the hope that he is looking for at all. Juliet gets always associated with light. Nearly instantly before Romeo meets her, there is a revelation by Romeo of his meeting with Juliet. He talks about how he needs a torch with its light (McKeown, Adam et al. 11). The line gets used as a pun on the image of light, and it is also a prediction of Romeos carrying the torch that is Juliets love. However, this proves to be ironic since Romeo is unable to stand the light of her lover. When he initially sees her, he immediately equates her to light. The light imagery reflects on what Romeo accurately thinks of Juliet about Rosaline. In an earlier scene, Benvolio compares Rosaline to a crow. Romeo now considers other women to be crows except for Juliet who is like a white dove that dwells among the black crows. Among this light, imagery gets used as a revelation of things to happen later. When Romeo talks of too rich a beauty for use, even for the earth too precious (McKeown, Adam et al. 48). He foreshadows sleeping in the tomb instantly after he murders Paris. However, Juliet is considered too bright to the extent of her grave getting likened to lantern by Romeo. Juliet was his true love, which shows that she will still have meaning even after her death. The light imagery is used to depict the theme of death here. Before her death, she also likens the love they share as Lightening (McKeown, Adam et al. 121). The light image is frequently used to highlight how rapidly they are falling in love, and how foolish that proves to be. But, this can also cast their passion for getting viewed as a bright shooting star that flashes across the night sky. It is quite exciting and wishful, but it ends quickly just like it emerged.

Light and daytime is a pretty significant period of the play. It's when all the fervent love acts happen so; night appears to cover and shield the lovers, whereas the stare of day endangers to expose them. In contrast, the suns heat makes Veronas young people easily annoyed and violent. The street scuffles happen during the daytime too. We often think of night as both a time for romance and liberation, in addition to a period of danger, and the images of the evening and darkness in the play carries both the night-time's possibilities and its fears. With their love concealed in the dark, their passion does not get subjected to the societal rules that might divide them. However, the threat also loiters in the night, and the clandestineness of Romeo and Juliet's wedding will attest lethal to both them. The third act of all Shakespeares plays always introduces the peak as the gloom starts to descend in on their love. Juliet is waiting for the evening to come so she can be with Romeo. Juliet knows that Romeo cant be with her throughout the day because someone may find out the love they share, so Juliet wishes for the night so that they can be together. She hasnt gotten the news of Romeos exclusion as she talks to herself in her chamber. The Mendicant then formulates a plan to fetch the lovers together. Romeo must creep into her room for the night and leave when the lark sings (Shakespeare 7). Romeo says that he must go or he will be discovered and will get killed, but she is so sure it is the nightingale, so the two lovebirds can stay together. Romeo must go for his safety. Juliet understands that their relatives loathing for one another is ripping them apart as only evil things have come from the day. As Juliet has come to the full realization that they can just be together at night for the love they share is secret, a...

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