‘What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.’ (John Steinbeck) John Steinbeck talks about how for a summer to be something special you need a winter to give summer its character. Oppositions give stories more emotion and character like winter gives summer its special quality that differs from winter. Just like Shakespeare uses Love and Hate and Life and Death opposites in Romeo and Juliet to give the story more character and emotion.
One of Shakespeare’s most common duality is Love and Hate. He uses love and hate through out many of his plays to show how powerful love can be, and how it can overcome anything, even the power of hate. At the beginning of the play when Romeo meets Juliet, he falling in love with her but she is part of the Capulet family who is his family’s greatest enemy. ??My only love sprung from my only hate!?? (Act 1. Scene 5. 152) This quote shows that Romeo’s new love has grown from his hate for Juliet’s family. Juliet and Romeo know that their love can not be but Shakespeare shows that love can overcome anything, for example soon after the first quote Romeo says ‘With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls, For stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can de, that dares love attempt. Therefore thy kinsmen are not stop to me.’ (Act 2. Scene 2. 71-75) When Shakespeare wrote this he shows that love can overcome anything including Romeos fear of death from the Capulets and Romeo’s hate for the Capulets. Shakespeare uses the Love/Hate duality throughout Romeo and Juliet to show that love is more powerful than anything, so powerful that it can end a decades long hateful war between the Montague and the Capulets.
Another major duality Shakespeare uses in Romeo and Juliet is life and death. Shakespeare uses life and death to show despair and hope. ‘Tybalts death was woe enough if it had ended there’ (Act 3. Scene 2. 125-126) Here Shakespeare shows distress in Juliet when she is torn after Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished, Juliet knows that the only other way the situation could have gone was the death of Romeo her love. ‘Nurse: I saw the wound. I saw it with mine eyes (God save the mark!) here on his manly breast’.Juliet O break, my heart, poor bankrout, break at once!….’) Here Juliet shows despair when she hears from her nurse that Tybalt has died but she thinks that Romeo has died. When Romeo flees from his punishment he hides at Friar Laurence’s house, while he is there he gets a visit from Juliets nurse. ‘How well my comfort is revived by this!’ (Act 3, Scene 3, 175) Romeo has hope when Juliet’s Nurse brings him a ring from Juliet. Hope and death is a major part of Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare uses it to make this story so popular.
Shakespeare uses oppositions to more emotion in his plays and stories. The snow and winter is nothing special without the warmth and sun of summer. Shakespeare has used love and hate and life death to bring life you Romeo and Juliet without dualities Shakespeare’s work wouldn’t be what it is today.