Romeo and Juliet: Violence and Conflict

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Romeo and Juliet: Violence and Conflict

Violence and Conflict are the most central parts of Shakespeare’s most famous play Romeo and Juliet. It comes in many forms, both in the spoken word and bodily harm. Throughout the play four main characters die, there is a riot in Verona square and countless arguments take place. There are many side plots within Romeo and Juliet which involve stories about love, betrayal and horror.

In the prologue we are told that ‘From ancient grudge break to new mutiny.’ which refers to the resentment between the Montague family and the Capulet family that was ‘bread of an airy word’ this resentment has seeped through the ranks of the family so now even the servants and feuding. Also we could be affronted as in the prologue it tells us the end of the play ‘Two star-crossed lovers take their lives.’ this is a curious action the behalf of Shakespeare as now the audience will be more interested in seeing the events that lead up to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

The play starts with a major riot in Act 1, that begins due to a pair of troublemaking servants from the house of Capulet named Samson and Gregory, one of them bites his thumb at the servants from the Montague house called Abraham and Balthasar. This sparks a row ‘Do you bite your thumb at us sir?’ This soon escalates as Tybalt enters Verona square and attempts to bait Benvolio into an scrap, and when Benvolio calls for peace he claims to ‘hate the word, as I hate hell all Montague’s and thee.’ Quickly escalating out of control and the relatively small argument ends up being the third ‘civil brawl’.

One of the more understated conflicts is Juliet’s panic in Act 4 Scene 3 in which she has conflict in her mind whether or not to drink the potion that friar Lawrence has given to her. ‘What if this mixture do not work at all?’ she asks herself obviously distraught at the possibility of having to marry Count Paris. ‘Shall I not then be stifled in the vault’ Juliet is morbidly...
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