Romeo Character Profile

Details for the actor to play Romeo Montague

A Welcome from the Producer

Congratulations, you have been selected for the role of Romeo Montague in the Ciara Sullivan production of 'Romeo and Juliet'. This production is expected to be very popular and is arriving in Australia, New Zealand, England and America in 2017. To ensure this production does justice to classic novel by William Shakespeare, the chief manager has put together this manual to offer some background information that we believe is necessary to understand Romeo as a character. At the start you will find an introduction into the novel as well as a deep analysis of his character that we believe is necessary to know so you can perform him to the best of your ability. Finally you will find some notes on the scene when Romeo first appears which we will begin filming shortly.


Best of luck and the team behind the production looks forward to working with you!

Ciara Sullivan, Producer

Introduction

'Rome and Juliet' is arguably the greatest love story of all time, told by none other that William Shakespeare. It was written in the late 1500s, where it was a very successful theatrical play. Since then it has been adapted into movies, plays, books, posters and artwork and is recognised by most as an immortal classic.


The story tells the tale of two star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, whose families are separated by an ancient hate, making their love forbidden and treacherous. Yet the pair look past their history and prove their loyalty and devotion to one another when each commit suicide fearing the other is dead. This faithfulness and tragicness have labelled the tale a classic, and both Romeo and Juliet symbolise young eternal love in modern day society. Romeo's is also symbolic of passion, freedom and desire, which are the main motivators in his personality.

Depiction in the Arts

Particularly in artwork, Romeo is depicted as a passionate lover, whose love knows no bounds. Many of the works of art portray the balcony scene, where Romeo is kissing Juliet. His body generally is muscular and strong, yet he is usually caressing Juliet gently. His appearance is similar to that of a Greek hero, not the complex and sensitive character depicted by Shakespeare.


Romeo is also depicted in scenes where his emotions are at extremes. Pictured on the right, Romeo was so driven by love he risked sneaking into Juliet's garden and pronouncing his love for her. This act placed himself at a huge risk, yet he was totally oblivious to this, as his wild surge of love dimmed his other senses.

Romeo's First Appearance in the Play

Romeo is first mentioned in Act 1, Scene 1, by Lady Montague who enquires after him to Benvolio. When Romeo enters he appears distracted and mournful and even Benvolio's cheerful greeting fails to have an impact on him. This is a critical scene when examining Romeo as it shows how love affects him as a character. Romeo pines for Rosaline yet is caught in despair as she has refused his love.


This is a delicate scene, as it is the first impression of Romeo. His dreaminess and inexperience in the field of love are captured by sonnets which need to be performed from the heart to truly understand and appreciate Romeo. The audience needs to relate to his restlessness and pick up that at this moment Romeo is still naïve in his understanding of love.

Capulet's Ball Analysis

In the scenes leading up to Capulet's Ball, the audience is first presented with how Romeo and his two greatest friends interact. In Act 1, Scene 4, Benvolio and Mercutio are typical teenagers; mischievous, constantly happy and looking for a chance to break the rules. When they are given the opportunity to attend Capulet's Ball, they both jump at the chance, and don't think twice about whatever consequences there may be. Romeo is different, he does not share their excitement and only after being convinced does he finally agree to come. His depression at the rejection of Rosaline pierces him, and he unknowingly relishes the feeling, as to him it is the feeling of love. This is abnormal compared to Benvolio and Mercutio who are still carefree and happy to waste their time roaming the streets of Verona. This shows Romeo's maturity as he is thinking more sinister thoughts of growing up, yet his ability to not recognise how artificial his love is for Rosaline shows that he is still a youth that is at a confusing time in his life.

Romeo's Physical Description and How Others Describe Him

There is little mention of Romeo's physical appearance, but more of his emotional appearance. In Act 1, Scene 1, Benvolio says of Romeo:


So early walking did I see your son:
Towards him I made, but he was ware of me
And stole into the covert of the wood:
I, measuring his affections by my own,
That most are busied when they're most alone,
Pursued my humour not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn'd who gladly fled from me.


This depicts a Romeo who is brooding and dreamy and prefers the company of his own thoughts. He "stole into the covert of the wood" when he became aware of Benvolio's presence which is abnormal behaviour in comparison to Benvolio and and Mercutio. His father then goes on to describe Romeo and his behaviour by saying:


"And private in his chamber pens himself,

Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,

And makes himself an artificial night.

Black and portentous must his humour prove,

Unless good counsel may the cause prove."


Before having met Juliet, Romeo is described by those closest to him as private; a person who keeps himself to himself when trying to deal with problems. Over the course of the novel it is evident that this is not a true image of Romeo's character.


Yet this is just the description of those closest to him. At the Capulet ball, Capulet does not send Romeo away even after Tybalt's protests with his reasoning being:


"He bears him like a portly gentleman;
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him,
To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth."


Yet the best judge of Romeo's character is from none other than his one true lover, Juliet. The Romeo whom she fell in love with is not the same as the melancholy and apathetic Romeo who yearns for love. Romeo's true character is revealed the minute he sets eyes on Juliet. His love burns bright for her beauty and he recognises how artificial his other loves have been. This scene is critical in the development of Romeo as a character. The nurse later describes Romeo's beauty by saying:


"Though his face be better than any man's, yet his leg excels

All men's; and for a hand, and a foot, and a body,

Though they not be talked on, yet they are

Past compare: he is not the flower of courtesy,

But, I'll warrant him, be as gentle as a lamb."


This shows that Romeo is physically attractive compared to others in Verona.

Romeo's Development as a Character

Over the course of the novel, Romeo arguably developes the most out of all the characters. It has previously been discussed how Romeo is more in love with the idea of love, yet by the end of the novel this is not the case. He first starts to mature at Capulet's ball when he says "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night". His character grows as he realises how artificial his previous loves have been. This change is signposted by his change from sonnets to blank verse (a less figurative form of poetry).


He also develops a personality that is loving, caring, lustful and dramatic. Once he first laid eyes on Juliet, he seemed to lose any sense of moderation for his emotions. Love drives him to risk his life and sneak into the Capulet's garden to see Juliet, lust drives him to marry Juliet on he first day he met her, anger drives him to kill Tybalt and despair drives him to commit suicide once he believes Juliet is dead. This is a major flaw in his character, but his underlying motivation to think for himself makes him an extremely likeable character. He is thought process generally seems logical, yet the force of his emotions blind him and causes him to be placed in serious situations.

Romeo's First Appearance in the Play Continued


Setting: Town square in Verona that is bustling with people on a sunny blue day. Light atmosphere despite previous brawl.


Characters present: Tybalt, Mont


Previous lines prior to Romeo's entrance:


Benvolio

My noble uncle, do you know the cause?

I neither know it nor can learn of him.

Montague

Have you importuned him by any means?

Both by myself and many other friends.

But his own affections' counsellor,

Is it himself-I will not say how true,

But to himself so secret and so close,

So far from sounding and discovery,

As is the bud but with an envious worm,

Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air,

Or dedicate his beauty to the same.

Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,

We would as willingly give cure as know."


Romeo enters wearing costume 1 (white t-shirt and ripped, baggy, denim jeans) looking thoughtful and heavy heavy hearted. Says his lines in a passive and evasive tone, and fidgets whilst saying them.


Benvolio

"Good morrow, cousin

Romeo

Is the day so young?"

......


Refer to official script for following lines.