Reading M.M.Mahoods’ ‘Shakespeare’s Wordplay’ has helped me contextually to understand the storyline a lot better, however I want to develop my knowledge on the characters of Romeo and Juliet to understand their personalities and how they portrayed themselves as it will help me to develop my costumes to their full potential as I can use their personality traits within the costumes, perhaps portrayed by metaphors or by the way I manipulate fabrics and materials; I could even use quotes from the original play hidden with costumes as a way of developing patterns and textures; it will definitely be something to consider within an outcome.
Looking into the characters Romeo and Juliet, using ‘Longman Guide to Shakespeare’s Characters’, is helping me to understand their parts bette so that I can develop my characters of Fire and Ice better.
Juliet; from the book I have gathered that she is an ‘archetypal ruined virgin’, ‘a waif-innocent’ depicted by soulful Pre-Raphaelite painters. She is ‘beautiful, pure… ravished before our eyes’. She is represented differently to other characters
- To Romeo: she is the light in the dark, he refers to her by saying ‘Juliet is the sun’ and no other character refers to her with such single-minded rapture.
- To Paris: he is respectful but distant, she is his arranged future bride, at her death he is more bothered about his grief than her
- To her Parents: headstrong, disobedient, a sullen adolescent daughter
- To Friar Laurence and Nurse: they care more about the passion of Romeo and Juliet than they do facilitating it
Juliet sees herself as a ‘spirited, lively girl’ but when she meets Romeo and falls in love she moulds her character into one where she is dependent on love and forgets about individuality. She believes she matures drastically but even in the famous balcony scene she skips in and out almost like a child playing a game; its like she lives in a fairytale and because of this she believes she’ll get her happily ever after but when she doesn’t, she reacts in a worse way and kills herself – this could be a sign of immaturity because she feels that the world would stop without Romeo, yet as you mature you become less dependent, which she would have eventually realised.
Romeo: Romeo is a passionate and is sexual in poetry, almost ‘fiery’ in personality, if he is an ‘innocent teenager’ he pretends to be a lot older than he is but he grows younger throughout the play; this could be a result of falling in love with a girl who is much younger than him but sometimes in life girls act more mature to impress a boy and boys go the other way, which is the case because when he meets Juliet his sophistication vanishes and he sheds his former character.
- Mahood, M.M. and Mahood, P.M.M. (1968) Shakespeare’s wordplay. London: Methuen Publishing.
- McLeish, K. (1985) Longman guide to Shakespeare’s characters: A who’s who of Shakespeare. Harlow, England: Longman