In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses an object of nature to punctuate the conflicting qualities of his characters. Throughout Shakespeare’s tragedy, the flower is shown holding a variety of qualities and potential. The flower appears throughout the story and serves as a motif for the various ways in which the qualities of characters and their relationships play out. At times the flower is filled with potential, while at other times the flower’s internal qualities can be detrimental to itself or its surroundings. In a similar way, human nature is bound by these two potentials. On the one hand, a person has the promise to grow and develop and become something beautiful. On the other hand, human nature has the capacity to resort to violence and become something bad. Normally, when one comes across a flower in literature, one would take its significance in a very literal way. Here, Shakespeare uses the motif of the flower in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to convey the various direction of human potential.In the beginning of the play, Shakespeare uses the image of the flower to depict the capacity for goodness and beauty, as well as to reflect the qualities of the characters and their relationships. The first example of this is seen when Lady Capulet tries to convince Juliet of how wonderful it would be to marry the great and noble Paris. Lady Capulet describes Paris, saying how unique and beautiful he is--“Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.” (1.3.81) Here, Lady Capulet is using the flower to represent the potential beauty and magnificence that exists within Paris--a kind that Verona has not seen before this. Just as a flower is beautiful and has great potential to grow, so does Paris. Similarly, she sees Paris as the embodiment of beauty and great potential as a husband for Juliet, who will only bring her happiness and much joy.
Later on in the play at the famous balcony scene, we again see the idea of positive potential being represented by some form of a flower. As Romeo is trying to express his love and swear that he will marry Juliet, Juliet says “This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. ”(2.2.121-122) Juliet here looks to the flower as the inspiration for her relationship. Just as the flower starts as a bud and grows to be a beautiful flower that produces great fragrances and fruit, so too Juliet sees their relationship as growing, and possibly producing the solution to the hatred that exists between the Capulets and Montagues. Here, Juliet looks solely at the favorable potential between herself and Romeo, and gives no attention to the potentially negative consequences of the relationship. Overall, in the first phase of the play, Shakespeare introduces the flower and the characters as possessors of positive qualities and potential. As the plays progresses, Shakespeare reveals other