In Romeo and Juliet, love is the most significant theme. It is first introduced at the start, when Romeo pronounces his love for Rosaline. As the plot progresses, Romeo and Juliet fall in love at Capulet's ball. Romeo and Juliet's love is aggressive, passionate and overpowering. Their love supersedes all other values, such as family, loyalties and emotions. This drives them to defy their current social situations. While love is the overarching theme of the play, readers should remember the way that Shakespeare aims to portray love. He doesn't want a prettied up version that is cliché. Shakespeare shows love as a driving force that can cause the opposite of what it really is. Instead of happiness and emphatuation with a person, it can cause tragedy and death. The underlying message that the reader should resinate with is that love can capture individuals and turn their worlds upside down. At the beginning of the play, love is described through the scope of religion. By the end of the play, love is shown as a mystic, dark force that is more powerful than what many perceive it to be. While Romeo and Juliet does not make any connection between love and society and religion, it portrays passionate and chaotic love and links it with death and tragedy.
In Romeo and Juliet, violence shapes their world and is vital to the progression of the play. From the first scene, members of the family clash in the piazza. In other scenes, Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel, and eventually dies at Romeo's hand. From the start of the play, this seemed inevetable. Due to the constant feuding between the families, violence must exist else the plot and storyline will change. Violence is also deeply linked to sex. This is generally true as the violence often casts a shadown on Romeo and Juliet's relationship. It also comes up in other ways, such as when Sampson and Gregory proclaim to sexually assult the Montague women. Even the language that sex is described in forms violent imagery. At the end when Romeo says:"Let me be put to death", he is using an entondre. On one hand this means that he will literally be put to death, but on the other, death is slang for orgasm.
From the prologue to the end of the play, fate is explored throughout Romeo and Juliet. In the play, fate is shown as a driving force, often more powerful than love and hate. In the play Romeo's defiance often determines his fate. He does everything he can to stay with Juliet, which results in their deaths. Fate works in all major events and aspects of the play, such as the two feuding families, the series of unfortunate events that follow Friar Lawrence's plan as well as the timing of Juliet awakening causing both to commit sucicide. The way that these events unfolded in the story were not mere coinicdences, they were all determined by the fate of Romeo and Juliet. While there are various other interpretations of fate, this is the one that is widely accepted and taught.
Both Romeo and Juliet are quite, young. Shakespeare uses this as a device to convey themes of youth. For example, Romeo roams the streets of Verona with young, short-fused men, who are quick to fight. This resembles modern day gang culture, where opposing groups fight each other on the streets just as what happens in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare also depicts Romeo as somewhat immature. This can be seen through his speech. When he is obsessed with Rosaline he says,"Compare[Rosaline's] face with some that I shown, And I will make thee think a swan a crow". This shows how Romeo is immature in some senses, just as every other teenager is. We never learn Romeo's age but we do learn that Juliet is thirteen years old. Her mother thinks that she is ready to marry the county Paris, yet her father thinks of her as a,"stanger to this world". While Juliet doesn't want to marry Paris, she thinks that she is mature enough to be married. Eventually when she marries Romeo, she describes to the audience how she looks forward to her wedding night. She describes this by comparing herself to,"an impatient child", which reminds the audience that that is what she is. The acknowledgement of their deep love, amplifies the saddness at the end of the play when they die from their short, passionate relationship.