Romeo’s development throughout the play

Romeo is the male protagonist of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. His outer characterization is fairly brief: He is the only son of Lord Montague of Verona, which means he is a nobleman. We never learn his age, but he could be anything from 13 (like Juliet) to his early 20’s. He appears to have several friends, Mercutio and Benvolio being the most important ones.

As regards his inner characterization, Romeo is a complex character. This is also why it is difficult to establish whether he truly develops or not over the course of the play. We hear of him before meeting him: In Act 1, Scene 1, his parents and Benvolio talk about his mental state. He is depressed and cries constantly because he believes himself in love with a young noblewoman named Rosaline who does not return his feelings. This paints a picture of a young man who has extreme emotions.

Romeo then appears and complains about Rosaline saying that she will not “ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.” (1.1.207) He is esse...

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