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These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which as they kiss, consume. Romeo and Juliet is a well-known romantic tragedy written by William Shakespeare about the forbidden love between two lovers from different warring families. When the two young star-crossed lovers die, they bring their feuding families back together. In the play, Shakespeare uses contrast to add depth and dramatic effects to the plot, which makes the play more enjoyable to read. Three of many contrasts that Shakespeare uses in the play are Love versus hate, light versus dark, and fate versus choice.
Over the centuries, love and hate have been considered as the two and only feelings that can cause damage and death. In the play, the two lovers fall in love despite the conflict that is going on between their families, knowing that there will be consequences. Unfortunately, they die from their own passionate love and their families hate. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses many oxymoron, such as "loving hate", which are two words with very opposite meanings. These two passions are the main themes in this play. At the beginning of the play after Romeo and his friends crashed the Capulet's feast, Romeo and Juliet learn of each other's lineage, and Juliet promises to Romeo by saying, "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if though will not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet" (2.2.30-40). Juliet states these words to tell him that if he gives up his name, she will refuse the fact of being a Capulet just to be with him because she loves him, which tells us that there will be drama and sacrifice throughout the play. When Tybalt finds out that Romeo crashed the feast, he challenges him to a duel of which Mercutio dies in. In that sense, Romeo had to show his hate for Tybalt by killing him. After the Prince exiles Romeo from Verona for murdering Tybalt, he returns for Juliet's sake knowing that the cost of returning is painful death towards him. Shakespeare uses the contrast of love and hate to build up suspense, which makes the reader fascinated in how the play will end up.
Another contrast that Shakespeare uses in the play is the light and dark that reflects the beauty and passion of young love. When Romeo sees Juliet at the feast, he describes her as "a snowy dove trooping with crows." (1.5.45-50) He is saying that she sticks out from all the other women at the feast as a dove would stick out from crows. Shakespeare uses contrast between the light feathers of a dove and the dark feathers of a crow to show Romeo's strong attraction to Juliet. Romeo and Juliet describe one another as light. To Juliet, Romeo is the "day in night"; to Romeo, Juliet is the sun rising from the east. In the famous balcony scene, Romeo defines Juliet as the sun rising from the east that banishes the "envious moon" and transforms the night into day. After the lover's wedding night together, Romeo had to leave for exile in the morning. Romeo and Juliet, not wanting to leave each other, tried to pretend that it is still night by insisting that the singing they can hear isn't coming from the lark, but the nightingale, which would have meant that they could spend more time together. Light and Dark imagery is applied throughout Shakespeare's tragic love story to show contrast while creating mood and symbolizing love.
Last but not least, fate and choice play a major part in the play. Everyone makes choices out of their own free will. Whether it is a wrong or a right choice, it will eventually lead to their determined fate. This relates to how the star-crossed lovers' choices reflected their own fate. When Peter asks Romeo to help him read the guest list for the Capulets feast, he reads that his first love, Rosaline, will be attending, which makes him go to the party, where he finds his true love, Juliet. If fate didn't send Peter to ask Romeo for help, he would have probably never met Juliet. Before Romeo goes to the Capulet's feast, he hesitates because he had a dream the night before about going to the party would cause his death, yet he still chose to go. From the beginning of the play, Romeo and Juliet were meant to fall in love and ultimately die together for the greater good of Verona as they reunite their families. The characters that died in the play, starting with Mercutio and Tybalt and ending with Paris, Romeo, and Juliet were all fated to die. The choices that Romeo and Juliet made caused them to fall in love with each other which cost them their own lives because fate and choice are connected in a way that can't be described.
In short, in the play, Romeo and Juliet, the use of contrast adds drama and thickens the plot so that the reader enjoys it. One contrast that Shakespeare used in the play is the love and hate that goes on throughout the play because of the hatred between the Montagues and Capulets. Another contrast he used is light and dark which revealed the beauty of the love between Romeo and Juliet. Fate and choice was also included in the play to show how the choices that were made in the play, led to their tragic end. "For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo." (5.3.310)