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GCSE SHAKESPEARE ASSIGNMENT
Explore how Shakespeare develops the theme of conflict in the play 'Romeo & Juliet'
When cruelly juxtaposed against the "ancient grudge" out of which it blossomed, Romeo and Juliet's fated romance develops into one of theatre's most emotive tragedies. Shakespeare presents to us a hostile society built through conflicting notions, and introduces two "star-crossed" lovers so that we can ponder the sullen irony that not even their compassion can break the code of quarrel; only untimely death.
Shakespeare instantly instils dramatic irony into his play, as the prologue briefly reveals the tragedy to take place throughout "...the two hours traffic..." on stage. From the introductory prologue we learn that Romeo and Juliet's love is "...death marked...", and that their life is described as a "...fearful passage..." no doubt with an end. Although this technique can be considered to spoil the story for an audience, I feel it successfully creates a sense of impending, and inevitable tragedy thus rousing interest and empathy rather than losing it. This scripted and ordained approach to theatre may also assist the play in grasping the attention of Elizabethan peasants purely seeking entertainment and an escape from their laboured lives; since this was the sole purpose of drama during an era of manual industry. Shakespeare's use of contrast is also established in his opening prose, as he describes "...Fair Verona where we lay our scene..." with such romanticism and poetic taste, only to...