Essay A Marxist Reading of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

1094 Words 5 Pages
A) Write a critical commentary on key aspects of either Act 2 Scene 2 or Act 3 Scene 5.

B) Indicate briefly how you would read this extract using one of the approaches studied so far in Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory other than the liberal humanist approach.


Part A
Act Two, Scene Two of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a romantic and poetically lavish scene. This emotionally abundant section of the play contains the love passages and fanciful imaginings of the young lovers. But while it is eloquent and delightful, it is also essential in detailing certain character developments, drawing attention to recurring themes and setting the tone of the remaining play.

Throughout Act One the characters of Romeo and Juliet reflect
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Hence, Shakespeare intends to advise his audience that something is amiss. The balcony scene, although one of the most romantic within the play may well be the reason the two lovers are unable to marry without disaster. If Romeo had not heard Juliet’s declaration of love they may not have been propelled to wed so quickly.
It is during Act Two Scene Two that the drama truly begins, from this part of the play onwards Romeo and Juliet spiral towards tragedy.

Act Two Scene Two also draws attention to the recurring themes of light and darkness used throughout the play. Romeo draws attention to various symbols such as the moon, the sun, the stars and the night sky to reflect his mood. When introduced to Romeo at the beginning of the play he is in a melancholy mood as the result of Rosaline. His references in Act One to being a ‘candle-holder’ (1.4.38) suggest he feels surrounded by darkness while others enjoy the light. Act Two Scene Two takes this theme further.

Romeo describes Juliet as ‘the sun’ (2.2.3) at the beginning of the balcony scene suggesting she has become the centre of his world or life. He compares her to the moon who is ‘sick and pale with grief’ (2.2.5) and implores Juliet not to be the moon’s maid. This may be a comparison between Juliet and Rosaline, Rosaline having chosen to be the moon’s maid and shun romantic love. It becomes clear during this part of the play that Romeo associates love with light

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