Romeo and Juliet is a play about contrasts as much as it is love and hate. It’s a tragic play which love and hate are embodied in many different ways. The Montagues and Capulets hate each other after a long feud long forgotten, but Romeo and Juliet meet each other and fall in love instantly “star crossed lovers” showing that hate can be born in love, an oxymoron.
The prologue establishes the themes of love and hate from the beginning and links the two. The sonnet at the start of the play gives us an insight into the play the love and hate of the family is from long ago that they have an ancient grudge and everyone is becoming involved in this feud without consent. “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” suggests that people who otherwise would be innocent civilians are being made to fight and have death on their hands. The prologue explains Romeo and Juliet’s love as being born from the hatred and grudges of the two families. However from the prologue it is telling us their love is destined to end “star crossed lovers” which suggest that destiny has fated them to death. Also their “death-marked love” is referring back to Elizabethan belief that there is a greater force then that of humans such as God. Shakespeare reveals the information that the love of Romeo and Juliet’s is that they will die because the audience is not interested to know whether they will die, they want to now know how, why and in what circumstances they died. By doing this Shakespeare has increased the dramatic tension when saying Romeo and Juliet will die in the play.
In act 1 scene 1 the themes of hatred and love are introduced very early into this play. The scene starts with a violent scene which shows the disorder from the conflict of the two families. The scene opens with two servants from the Capulet house; Shakespeare shows they are ready to fight in many different ways “A dog of that house shall move me to stand. I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s” which means that Sampson is ready to fight if he sees a Montague. It shows the needless aggression of Sampson and violence, just to an old feud of which they are unlikely to know about. By Shakespeare doing this it has a profound effect on the audience; it highlights the hatred between the two families. Gregory another servant of the Capulet household when seeing servants of the house of Montague says “Draw thy tool- here comes two of the house of Montague’s” meaning he is threatening the two servants by wielding a weapon. Benvolio attempts to stop the fighting by drawing his sword and telling them to part, “Part fools……..You know not what you do”. Benvolio is trying to make peace by doing this, trying to stop the hatred between them, if this attempt had been successful perhaps the family would have been able to put aside the hatred and have love in its place. However he is unsuccessful due to Tybalt thwarting his attempt by starting a fight with Benvolio. Tybalt does this as he hates all Montagues and all regards of peace as he says “What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word As I hate hell, all Montagues and thee” This links back to the contrasts of love and hate, as Benvolio could be used as a symbol for love and of the fiery Tybalt of hate, due to their roles in the fight. Later in this Scene Prince Escalus later issues a decree, This is because society is in chaos due to these three civil brawls and as a result of this he wants to regain control by enforcing a decree that fighting will mean death for the two families, “Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets” This hatred has left the people of the town having to fight when it should be a loving community which highlights the contrasts of love and hate.
This play is about love and seems to differ in many kinds, for example we see in Act 1 Scene 1 Romeo’s love for Rosaline is not returned (petrarchan love). This means that he does not actually love her he’s only lusting after her. Romeo’s love for...
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