Q:

What are Romeo's personality traits?

A:

Romeo exhibits many typical personality traits of the Shakespearean lover but with an added fiery impulsiveness. As the story's hero, he displays gallantry, wit, courage and passion throughout the play. His passion, however, ultimately acts as a tragic flaw that causes fatal errors and leads him toward his demise.

Romeo is extremely passionate and shows his intensity of feeling even in the descriptions of his more superficial love for Rosaline early in the play. Dr. Maginn states in "The Shakespeare Papers" that his thoughts and loves are swift as lightning. The rapid pulse of his life becomes the rapid choice in his despair that leads him to end it when he believes that Juliet is dead. Romeo is also a dreamer who often speaks in highly poetic and metaphorical language, such as when he describes Juliet as the sun rising in the east when she appears at her balcony in Act two, Scene two.

Romeo is beloved of nearly all the characters in the play, and their feelings toward him indicate much about his personality. The nurse describes him as being gentle as a lamb. His parents worry about his melancholy but treat him gently and without reproach, which suggests he is sensitive. His close friends tease and banter with him, and when he is with them, he shows his cleverness and love for verbal jousting. He also shows no fear in the dangerous streets at a time when brawling is common. Only Tybalt speaks disdainfully toward him, and, according to Dr. Maginn, even this is complimentary and indicates that Tybalt, the play's most accomplished fighter, sees worthiness in Romeo as an opponent.


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