In What Ways Does Shakespeare Create Sympathy for Romeo and Juliet and Their Relationship?

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During the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare manages to effectively depict the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. One way he achieves this is by creating sympathy for Romeo and Juliet, which consequently affects the reader and audience of the play. Three ways in which Shakespeare is able to create sympathy for them is through the general setting and plot structure, the language used, and also the characterisation of Romeo and Juliet.

From the very beginning of the play (in the prologue), Shakespeare begins to create a sense of sympathy for Romeo and Juliet. Here, the audience is told that these two lovers are ‘star cross’d’ - meaning that their love goes against the stars and is therefore doomed to end in disaster. As a result, the audience watches the play with the expectation that Romeo and Juliet will both die, causing a sense of dramatic irony or foreshadowing. This subsequently makes the audience feel sympathy for Romeo and Juliet throughout the entire play, as they are in the knowledge that this hopeful relationship will end prematurely. In addition, Romeo and Juliet stand as two innocent figures amidst the violent feud between their two families. The audience sympathizes with the fact that Romeo and Juliet are separated by the feud in which they are mere bystanders in, and that it is the other members of the two families, such as Tybalt who are denying them of their chance to be together. In Act 2 Scene 2 (lines 40-44), Juliet laments over the fact that Romeo is a Montague, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." This phrase is an analogy showing how Juliet resents not being able to be with Romeo purely because of his name and the family he belongs to, even though she loves him solely for who he is. In addition, during the aftermath of Romeo and Juliet’s death, the audience gain sympathy for the couple All through this play, such coincidences and unfortunate plot twists are a key element in...
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