Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet

Conflict and violence in the play are presented in a variety of different ways. Throughout the play, there runs this idea of a conflict between love and hate- the key part of Romeo and Juliet’s problems. This conflict in part leads to the violence of the play, with the feud providing the catalyst for events such as Mercutio’s death and the demise of the star-crossed lovers. Interpreting conflict as a discord of feelings, actions, and events, the play shows how conflict creates an atmosphere of violence that permeates their language and actions. Violence begets violence, causing a chain reaction that ends in tragedy. There is a contrast between the internal nature of the conflict and the physical nature of the violence within the play.

Shakespeare introduces the themes of conflict and the violence in the prologue of the play indicating that the play is going to be about the link between these two themes, most specifically love and hate. ‘From ancient grudge break to new mutiny’ shows a deep rooted conflict that is presented throughout the play. ‘Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.’ gives an image of violence that is eventually caused by conflict. At the very beginning of the play, Act 1 Scene 1, through the use of minor characters Shakespeare indicates that the feud influenced on not only the people most connected to the source but also those further removed. The strife creates an atmosphere of violence and sets the scene for the events that follow.

Conflict and violence are presented as two sides of the same coin- there is verbal and inner conflict and violence expressed physically. In Act 3 Scene 1, Tybalt, Mercutio and Romeo fight- first with words, then with swords. At one point Romeo says “O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate, and in my temper softened valour’s steel!” This illustrates his inner conflict- he has to choose between fighting Tybalt and upholding his own honour and thereby injuring one of Juliet’s...
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