In This Essay I Will Be Exploring How William Shakespeare Creates Violence and How His Portrayal of Conflict Relates to the Original Elizabethan Context and Today. I Will Be Analysing Act 1 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 1 and Act 5 Scene 3.

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Shakespeare was born in 1563 in Stratford-Upon-Avon and he died in 1616. His career started out in acting when he was young. This was until he found that he had an outstanding talent for writing. He wrote “Romeo and Juliet” at the peak of his writing career in 1595, at the age of 32. Shakespeare actually wrote 37 plays along with 154 sonnets but “Romeo and Juliet” is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, play he ever wrote. “Romeo and Juliet” is about two families that have been in a long and bitter feud for many years now. The play is set in Verona in Italy and involves two main characters, Romeo, of the Montagues, and Juliet, of the Capulets. The play explores many feelings such as violence but does display a great amount of love and care. “Romeo and Juliet” isn’t a love story, nor were any of his masterpieces, it was an emotional tragedy. The play is well known globally and many versions of it have been produced. In 1996, Baz Luhrmann produced a film which retold this audience-gripping story. Also, in the West End a production called “West Side Story” which also was based on “Romeo and Juliet” was created. So there are a vast number of people in the world who have heard of or know the plot of “Romeo and Juliet”.

In Act 1: Scene 1, a fight breaks out between the servants of the Capulets’ house and the Montagues’. Tybalt (a Capulet) forces Benvolio (a Montague) to fight. The Prince of Verona arrives and terminates the fight. Romeo’s parents are worried about him because he’s been acting different lately. So, Benvolio suggests he should go and find out what is on Romeo’s mind.

The language in Act 1: Scene 1 conveys there is almost immediate violence taking place. The first instance in which we see violence is when Tybalt says “What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds.” This identifies the servants are fighting and for Tybalt to intervene the fight must have been severe. This also confirms to the audience that violence was occurring, through language.

This also has a social context because at the time this play was written, it was usual for groundlings to have fights in the street without being disturbed whereas nowadays, Policemen and the law would soon intervene. The Elizabethan audience would see the fight and cheer, just as they would do at the side of fights in their real lives however, this would not happen nowadays. Modern audiences would simply watch the play and not become emotionally involved whatsoever. Secondly, Benvolio tries to stop the fight but he gives the Capulets more reason to carry on by insulting them. Benvolio orders “Put up your swords – you know not what to do” This displays that Benvolio wasn’t encouraging the Montague servants to fight because he doesn’t think his honourable servants are worthy to fight the peasants that are the servants of the Capulets. Furthermore, Juliet’s father, Lord Capulet, demonstrates how violent he is when he instructs to Lady Capulet “Give me my long sword, ho!” This explores how Lord Capulet is determined to get involved in this violence. He is commanding his wife to hand him his weapon so that he can join in and exchange blows with the Montagues’ servants. Subsequently, Lord Montague appears and he roars “Thou villain Capulet! – Hold me not, let me go.” Now Lord Montague has arrived and he feels exactly the same as Lord Capulet; he wants to fight and bring damage to his rivals. They’re both fuming with anger and both thoroughly want to fight. The only obstacles in their path are their wives who’re restraining them. Both these quotes show the violence between these households is fierce. The audience would gather that this is an exciting and intense feud. Also, the words and phrases Shakespeare has chosen show violence. Such words include “thy washing blow”, “beat them down”, “thrusts and blows” and “I will cut off their heads.” All these show that there is a strong hatred for each other. These are all examples of graphic language and...
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