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  • November 2010
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How Shakespeare uses hatred
And violence in Romeo and Juliet
The play is about a ‘pair of star crossed lovers’ who are the victims of the ‘ancient grudge’ their two families are embroiled in. Although it is a play about love, it does not come without its violence and conflict, for the play opens and ends with exciting and tragic brawls between the two families, Montague and Capulet. Shakespeare uses strong language in his play because back in the Elizabethan times violence would have been entertaining and if Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet was just about love then the people wouldn’t have found it that interesting In the Elizabethan times violence would have been like a sport e.g. cocks fighting was a very popular sport where people would starve the chickens and then make them fight and people would bet on one of them to win. Shakespeare foreshadows that there is going to be a lot of hatred and violence in the prologue. “From ancient grudge” this quotation shows that the two families have been fighting for a long time. “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” this quotation states that there is going to be blood involved and violence and that civil blood will make civil hands unclean. Fearful passage” and “death mark’d love” and “rage” all sound powerful and exciting – such language helps to suggest the violence that excited in the Elizabethan times. The play starts with violence in act 1 scene 1 where the two families have a massive brawl in the street of Verona the fight starts when Sampson and Gregory, servants of the house of Capulet, go out looking for trouble. Enter Abraham and Balthazar Sampson and Gregory almost pick a fight with Abraham and Balthazar, servants of the house of Montague. Enter Benvolio: Seeing a Capulet kinsman, Sampson and Gregory start to fight with Abraham and Balthazar. Benvolio tries to stop the fight, but Tybalt enters and attacks Benvolio. Benvolio tells Tybalt that he doesn’t want to fight

“I do but keep...

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