Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare.

One of Shakespeare's most famous plays ' Romeo and Juliet' features ' two star crossed lovers’ from two feuding families who fall in love and their lives become intertwined with violence and conflict. These are the two most central themes of this famous play. Not only is the violence and conflict in physical form with actual bodily harm but also in the cleverly written and spoken language Shakespeare uses. There are also many sub plots in 'Romeo and Juliet' which involve many themes including love, betrayal and horror and the idea that women are subordinate. During the Elizabethan period, in which Romeo and Juliet is set women played to inferior role to men. They had no choice in who they married, this was down to there fathers and they did not have many options or opportunities available to them, the women are not allowed to decide these things as they are considered 'not capable' or 'unable' to make these important decisions. Women could refuse marriage but this would be seen as dishonourable to both sets of parents and you would be cast out onto the streets by your father and he would not want to know you or support you in anyway. I do not think this is incredibly fair, however that is because I have grown up in this time and society if I had of lived in the period of Romeo and Juliet I would have known no different. These themes are carried throughout this play. A Prologue is used to introduce plays, novels or poems. They give a brief description of what will happen in the play to keep the audience or listeners interested. In the Prologue Shakespeare introduces the theme of hatred between the two families; 'Ancient grudge breaks to new munity.'

This refers to the resentment between the Montague and Capulet families and that their grudges are ' bread of an airy word' This just shows that all ranks of the family have been involved at some point, yet no one in the family really knows where this 'grudge' originally came from. We also know that 'two star crossed lovers take their lives.' so now we know that there is a love story going on through this play and that in the end they will kill themselves. Shakespeare says all this to get the audience intrigued in what is to come. There are a few key scenes which show conflict in this play, especially on the emotional side of conflict. These scenes are all highly charged and each character experiences a rage and rollercoaster of emotions, both good and bad, but all playing with the extremities of emotional conflict, ranging from marriage to devastating suicide.

As said conflict comes in mainly two forms; physical and spoken, and in Act 3 scene 1 of the play the biggest and most devastating fight breaks out where both Mercutio and Tybalt end up being murdered on the streets in front of crowds of people, Act III scene one marks the climax of the play and the point at which Romeo's tragic fortune begins its rapid decline. In Benvolio's opening words, where he is pleading with Mercutio, Shakespeare makes the audience aware that ' the day is hot' in the streets of Verona. Being a peacemaker, Benvolio’s fears are that in the heat 'they shall not s'cape a brawl' with fiery Tybalt and the rest of the fellow Capulets. Benvolio also knows that the temperatures are rising and so are people's tempers when he comments that there will be; 'Mad blood-stirring.'

This shows that he knows that little is needed to aggravate Tybalt if he wants a fight in this present heat and that Tybalt has sent a letter to Romeo's home stating that he wanted to fight him for invading his families’ party. Mercutio then encourages Benvolio to fight, but yet again Benvolio being the peacekeeper would rather walk away and let the Capulets amuse themselves and not get involved. Mercutio's mood is cocky and his antagonistic behaviour towards Tybalt only encourages him and annoys him further, Shakespeare uses Mercutio's words to make the audience realise...
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