Role Reversal in Romeo and Juliet
Even in today’s modern society, lots of male and female stereotypes are present. These gender stereotypes were much more present during the Middle Ages in which the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare was set. Through characterization, Shakespeare clearly portrays the societal expectation for behavior, beliefs and values in both males and women. Nevertheless the 2 lovers in the play, Romeo and Juliet, defy these standards of their time and in turn ultimately end up in their ill-fated death.
The gender stereotypes during the 14th century consist of guys being violent and women being passive, however with Romeo displaying femininity through his romantic methods and Juliet revealing an uncommon strength for females during her time, Romeo and Juliet’s unconventional behavior proves how they did not follow the standard at the time. In Verona during the mid 1500’s, the world of males was established upon violence, sexual dominance, and conquest. Every day life was revealed to be filled with tense atmospheres, particularly with the dispute in between the Capulets and the Montagues.
The two houses dislike for each other was transferred all the method to the most affordable positions of servants. Throughout the very first act of the play, Shakespeare currently demonstrates the violence instilled in males. Sampson, among the Capulet servants, boasted to another servant, “‘T holds true, and for that reason females, being the/weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall; therefore I/will push Montague’s guys from the wall, and thrust/ his house maids to the wall” (1. 1). These were the thoughts of an average male person during the time.
Their impulse and primal desires were acted upon without a second thought of morality or effect. Male opponents needed to be brought down through battling battles, and women were absolutely nothing however items meant for males to overpower and conquer to satisfy their own sexual requirements. Women likewise had a lot of behavioral expectations they had to follow. They were considered to be an entirely lower class than males, as they were thought of as inferior, weaker, and more like an item for guys to posses. Her life goals were to please her parents, wed, please her other half, and then deliver.
Juliet’s mother was a prime example of an ideal woman, and she stated, “Here in Verona, women of esteem,/ Are already made mothers. By my count,/ I was your mother much upon these years” (1. 3). This shows how rapidly a girl is moved from her moms and dad’s home to her husband’s house without any time to be independent. She is moved from the 2 houses far more like an object instead of a human. Her quick shift does not offer her the chance for independent idea, action, or development as a person herself as she is continuously expected to be taken care of and watched over by somebody else.
During the time setting of Romeo and Juliet, both men and women had to conform to a set rules of gender stereotypes. Nevertheless, Romeo does not follow the idea of masculinity and is identified with much more feminine and submissive characteristics. Contrary to a lot of guys at the time, he talks is in a wistfully dramatic manner. When he is discussing being in love, he talks with a lot of enthusiasm, comparable to that of a woman, “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs,/ Being purg ‘d, a fire shimmering in fans’ eyes,/ Being vex ‘d, a sea nurture ‘d with caring tears” (1. ). Thoughts of love and desire are all that fill his head.
His love for the concept of love makes him an easy teasing target for both his good friends and enemies. His masculinity is additional decreased when he is with Juliet. In the case of the veranda scene, “O, speak once again, brilliant angel, for though art/As remarkable to this night, being o’er my head,/ As a winged messenger of heaven … Call me like, and I’ll be new baptiz ‘d;/ Henceforth I never will be Romeo” (2. 2). In this scene, Romeo did something a regular Veronese guy would never consider doing.
He considered himself to be below a female in status and even worshipped her. Not just did Romeo figuratively put himself under Juliet, he was also literally under her terrace. Additionally, Romeo demonstrates how he wants to quit his name for the sake of Juliet– something incredibly non-traditional for males to do. Juliet too is depicted in a manner that opposes the perfects for females and embodies an uncommon power contrary to society. When initially approached by Romeo’s abrupt interest, Juliet does not hesitate like a lot of single ladies of the time.
Not only does she respond with flirtation, she even permits a kiss. In addition, she is really uncomplicated with her ideas and thoughts. She even daringly suggests marriage just after one conference with Romeo. She states, “If that thy bent of love be respectable,/ Thy function marriage, send me word to-morrow” (2. 2). Despite the fact that a female proposing to a man is really unusual, Juliet takes it one action further and gives Romeo guidelines on what he must do. She exposes her dominant character, the complete opposite of what an ideal lady need to imitate.
Furthermore, Juliet is possesed with really eager and sexual ideas, comparable to those thoughts of a guy. While waiting on her marriage, she says to herself, “O, I have actually bought the estate of a love,/ However not possess ‘d it, and though I am sold,/ Not yet take pleasure in ‘d. So tedious is this day” (3. 2). Women are not regarded as sexual beings during the time in Verona, rather as sexual objects for guys. For Juliet to indulge in those thoughts with such pleasure and longing was very uncommon and thought about to be exceptionally improper. Yet, even with her manly feature, Romeo happily gives way for Juliet to be in authority.
During their last minutes, it is Romeo who takes his life with toxin– a more gentle feminine type of suicide– and Juliet who kills herself with the stab of a dagger in a violent way that imitates masculinity. Lastly, it remains in their deaths where they reunite together with their unconventional roles that defy society. Through associating Romeo with female qualities and Juliet with manly ones, Shakespeare illustrate how they are opposite of their gender expectations. Possibly Shakespeare was attempting to get the message across that if you break the norm, regrettable occasions take place to you.