Romeo and Juliet: True Love or Adolescence?

Composed during my textual analysis class called, English Informatics class. The objective was to analyze the same character(s) from Romeo and Juliet that we did in a previous assignment, and use textual analysis tools to prove or disprove our points.

Literature as well as media has depicted the pros and cons of love from the very start. What begins as emotions of bliss and certainty may end in complete tragedy. One example of this is the drama of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The play portrays a forbidden romance between two adolescents who, in the end, take their own lives for the sake of love.

Throughout the play, the two “star crossed lovers”, especially Juliet, seem to develop into two completely different characters by the conclusion of the tale. The series of events, as well as the texts between Romeo and Juliet raises the question of whether their relationship true love or simply impulsive acts between two adolescents.

After pondering how I could research my hypothesis, I decided to analyze both Romeo and Juliet’s word corpus first. Using text analysis tool, Voyant Tools, the words Romeo and love appear the most for Juliet (Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts). The word “love” taken in context refers to her love for Romeo throughout. This was not a surprising finding to me however. As for Romeo, it was interesting to find that “love” and “death” appears the most. The word “love”, taken in context refers to his love for Rosaline at first and then his supposed love for Juliet, however, physical words such as “eyes,” “fair,” and “beauty” appear in the corpus. This fact portrays Romeo’s adolescence in only falling for Juliet’s beauty. “Juliet” is only mentioned fourteen times as opposed to Juliet mentioning Romeo thirty-six times.  These results led me the conclusion that Juliet has greater feelings for Romeo than Romeo does for Juliet.

My next step in my computational textual analysis was to divide the text to represent before and after the marriage between Romeo and Juliet. I found the results to be quite significant. The word corpus for Juliet before the marriage reveals her innocence. Words such as “love,” “good,” and “sweet” are in the top four word counts (Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts). “Romeo” is mentioned twelve times when Juliet pronounces her love for him. Since it is before she is married to Romeo, Juliet mentions Romeo’s name less than after she is married. Next I used the Topic Flower textual analysis tool to compare Juliet’s text in a more visual way. Before Juliet is married, the topic flower is almost completely red, meaning art, with a small amount of yellow, representing society (“Topic Flowers”). The first clue as to why Juliet’s text reveals a large amount of art is that the word “art” is mentioned eight times in the word corpus. Another conclusion is that Juliet’s vocabulary uses words such as “good,” “sweet,” “night”, and “love” multiple times. The results of the topic flower were not as significant until the before and after marriage flowers were compared.

The word corpus for Juliet after she is married reveals a more authoritative character. The word “Romeo” is used the most at twenty- four times, portraying that Juliet is even more devoted to Romeo after they are married. This is also shown by how Juliet mentions the word “dead” ten times in context to Tybalt’s death and how she would be “dead” without Romeo when he is banished. Juliet mentioned “shall” and “come” which are more authoritative words. Juliet’s personality is transforming from an innocent and sheltered girl into a more confident and authoritative figure all because of her love for Romeo. What I found most interesting was Juliet’s topic flower after she is married. Its appearance is completely different when compared to Juliet before marriage. There are more layers in the flower, revealing a more complex character in Juliet. There is more yellow in her flower than red, depicting more society than art (“Topic Flowers”). What is even more significant is the resemblance between Romeo’s topic flower and Juliet’s topic flower after marriage. This portrays how the adolescent Juliet is heavily influenced by her love, Romeo.

Before Romeo marries Juliet, he is supposedly infatuated with Rosaline, someone he knows he cannot have. Romeo’s word corpus before the marriage reveals that the word “love” is mentioned thirty-three times out of forty-five (Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts). In context, love is used to describe how he feels for Rosaline, but it is also used in a negative way as to how it brings him misery. He then mentions love in context to Juliet and her physical features. This alone portrays Romeo’s adolescence in his shallow ways of thinking. “Juliet” is only mentioned two times before he marries her and it is only to call out to her. Not only is this authoritative, but it also reveals how Juliet has stronger feelings for Romeo than Romeo does for Juliet. The word “shall” is also used eleven times, depicting how authoritative he is. The Topic Flower textual analysis tool reveals Romeo as quite social. His flower is almost completely yellow, representing society, with little red and very little orange, meaning recreation (“Topic Flowers”). This did not reveal anything of significance to me other than when it is compared to Romeo’s topic flower after he is married to Juliet.

What is most interesting is the contrast between Romeo’s word corpus before and after the marriage. It almost foreshadows the events to come without even reading the text. Before Romeo is married to Juliet, the word “love” is mentioned the most (Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts). After he is married, however, “death” is mentioned eighteen times, making it the number one word used. In context, “death” is used to describe how it would be better than being separated from his Juliet, revealing how both he and Juliet are dramatic and impulsive in their adolescence. Juliet is the second most mentioned word at twelve times depicting how he may be more devoted to her, rather than only searching for someone to love. Similar to Juliet’s topic flower, Romeo’s topic flower after marriage becomes more complex involving more layers and more red petals, portraying art. What is interesting is that Romeo and Juliet’s topic flowers after marriage resemble each other significantly. Not only is Juliet heavily influenced by Romeo, but Romeo seems to have changed in personality as well after the two are married. Although, after comparing both Romeo and Juliet’s text in a Wordle cloud, besides “love” and “death,” “Romeo” stands out the most as Juliet mentions his name more than Romeo mentions Juliet.

Adolescent love is a major theme in the drama Romeo and Juliet when one examines the text in depth. One conclusion I made from my research is that Juliet is heavily influenced by Romeo to an extent that she becomes Romeo. Before she meets him, marriage was something she did not dream of and in the end it became the death of her. As Romeo and Juliet are both adolescents, they are both impulsive and obsessed with being in love. Juliet is a sheltered young girl who would have taken any chance to rebel and love an enemy such as Romeo. Since Romeo was denied of Rosaline’s love, he moved on to love another beautiful girl, which happened to be Juliet. It makes one wonder what other undiscovered themes are hidden in other literature and media.

Works Cited

“Topic Flowers.” Neoformix – Discovering and Illustrating Patterns in Data. Neoformix, 2006. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://neoformix.com/2006/TopicFlower.html&gt;.

Voyant Tools: Reveal Your Texts. Voyant Tools, Stéfan Sinclair & Geoffrey Rockwell, 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://voyeurtools.org/&gt;.

“Wordle – Create.” Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds. Jonathan Feinberg, 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.wordle.net/create&gt;.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s