Romeo and Juliet: Love and Hate-Comedy or Tragedy?

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Romeo and Juliet: Love and Hate-Comedy or Tragedy?

  For a love story, Romeo and Juliet has more violence and bloodshed than most TV mini-

series. The play begins with a riot, ends with a double suicide, and in between has three murders.

And all this takes place in the span of four short days. Of course, when you're dealing with love

and passion, you're operating on an different level. The funny thing is that both of these terms

fall in the same category. It is common for love to turn to hate, in the blink of an eye.

Love and hate are two different things yet have so many things in common. They have a

doubleness. This contrast is shown throughout Romeo and Juliet "O brawling love, O loving

hate," Romeo cries in the play's very first scene, using a figure of speech and setting up a theme

that will be played out during the next five acts. From the very beginning love and hate emerge

and begin to start dramatic tension in the story.

A great deal of the violence in Romeo and Juliet became more understandable: they're all

short-tempered because of the tension building in hatred! This is even shown by Benvolio when

he warns Mercutio that "The day is hot, and Capulet's abroad, And if we meet we shall not scape

a brawl, For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." Unfortunately, he warns too late,

and the brawl he seeks to avoid is met in the form of Tybalt.

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Perhaps it is not too great a mind bend to assume that Verona is experiencing just such a long,

hot summer. Something must have happened to have spured such a great feud between the

Montagues and the Capulets. But what was it?

By the time Romeo and Juliet begins, the violence is already under way. The play opens

with a riot, after which the Prince says that "Three civil brawls. . .have thrice disturbed the quiet

of our streets." (1.1.80-82) Obviously, this violence has not been continual, for it is still young

enough for people to keep count of the fights. It must be something new that has risen and

disturbed more hatred between both families. What brings on this conflict? Heat, whether

internal or external, has a bad effect on judgment.

Applying conflict to interpersonal communication, it might be reasonable to assume that

human beings who are hot might see a signal of aggression in another person--particularly if

that person were regarded as the enemy -- when in fact there was none. The slightest wrong

move might be perceived as an affront, an insult, a challenge. Under the best circumstances,

communication between hostile forces is difficult; under conditions of extreme heat, conflict

becomes almost inevitable.

In addition to love and hate, there are results given in the story of tragedy. The story

takes place in about four days, but is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy or a comedy? The story can be

taken as a personal preference, but to me this story was intended to be a tragedy. Shakespeare

includes many witty puns and lines in his plays. Mercutio tells many hidden jokes, many being

sexual innuendoes. By seeing the play in Ashland on stage, it gave me a better feeling for the

play in what dramatic state it was portraying. Many times it put me on the edge of my seat

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during the tragic parts. Granted there are many funny parts in the acts, but it was intended for a

tragedy. What makes this story a tragedy, rather than a comedy? Fate plays an important role in

making Romeo and Juliet a good tragedy. It was destiny that the Capulet servant was not able to

read the list of people who he was supposed to invite to a party and had to ask a Montague for

help. Romeo and Juliet fell in love by chance; they could not help that their families were

feuding. Cruel actions of fate helped to determine the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet.

  Romeo's tragic flaw of...
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