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Love and Lust in Romeo and Juliet

            In the play "Romeo and Juliet," William Shakespeare writes of various recurring themes using figurative language to make social commentary and touch on human nature. More specifically, Shakespeare utilizes metaphor, personification, and heroic couplet to show the reader that mistaking lust for love can have dangerous consequences. He uses metaphors several times throughout the play as a way to show the love as lust theme. When Romeo is moping over Rosaline's rejection of his love, Benvolio tells him to come to the Capulet party, explaining, "Compare her face with some that I shall show,/And I will make thee think thy swan a crow" (I.ii.88-89). It is revealed through this quote Romeo is not the only character affected by mistaking lust for love, as Benvolio believes taking Romeo to the party will make him forget about Rosaline for another beautiful girl, which ironically does happen. Shakespeare makes use of the metaphor through the words of Benvolio, referring to Rosaline as a "crow" in the company of other "swan(s)." Foreshadowing is also used in this quote, as Romeo attends the party and falls in love, or believes so, with Juliet and forgets Rosaline. After the party, as Romeo observes Juliet on her balcony from afar, Shakespeare inserts a metaphor in Romeo's speech as he asks, "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?/It is the East, and Juliet is the sun" (II.ii.2-3). Romeo paints an image to the reader of the elegant, shining beauty of Juliet rising out of her balcony window as the sun would from the East horizon. Shakespeare uses this metaphor to display the theme of love as lust, as Romeo is smitten with Juliet's aforementioned dazzling beauty, possibly mistaking his attraction to her physical appearances for real love. This quote also shows the audience that at this point in the novel, just hours after the two have first met, Romeo is already deeply in love, or rather, believes he is, to the point of scaling the Capulet's wall to observe Juliet from her garden.

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