Romeo and Juliet

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Themes and Colors
Love Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Individuals vs. Society Theme Icon
Language and Word Play Theme Icon
Servants Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Romeo and Juliet, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Love in Romeo and Juliet is not some pretty, idealized emotion. Yes, the love Romeo and Juliet share is beautiful and passionate. It is pure, exhilarating, and transformative, and they are willing to give everything to it. But it is also chaotic and destructive, bringing death to friends, family, and to themselves. Over and over in the play, Romeo and Juliet's love is mentioned in connection with death and violence, and finds it's greatest expression…

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From the opening prologue when the Chorus summarizes Romeo and Juliet and says that the "star-crossed lovers" will die, Romeo and Juliet are trapped by fate. No matter what the lovers do, what plans they make, or how much they love each other, their struggles against fate only help fulfill it. But defeating or escaping fate is not the point. No one escapes fate. It is Romeo and Juliet's determination to struggle against fate in…

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Because of their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet are forced into conflict with the social world around them: family, friends, political authority, and even religion. The lovers try to avoid this conflict by hiding, by escaping from it. They prefer the privacy of nighttime to the public world of day. They volunteer to give up their names, their social identities, in order to be together. They begin to keep secrets and speak in puns so…

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Romeo and Juliet constantly play with language. They pun, rhyme, and speak in double entendres. All these word games may seem like mere fun, and they are fun. The characters that pun and play with language have fun doing it. But word play in Romeo and Juliet has a deeper purpose: rebellion. Romeo and Juliet play with language to escape the world. They claim they are not a Montague and a Capulet; they use words…

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For a play about the two noble teenagers struggling to preserve their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet sure has a lot of scenes focused on servants and non-nobles. Shakespeare did this by design. The recurring presence of servants in the play, from Peter, the Capulet servant who can't read, to the apothecary who's so poor he's willing to sell poison, Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet goes to great efforts to show that the poor…

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