The Power of Older Men in Romeo and Juliet

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The power of older men in Romeo and Juliet
In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet written in the late 1500s had a much different structure of government than that of today’s society. Traits such as gender and age played a major role in those times, and it is seen throughout the story that the older men have the ability to make decisions for the rest of the community with social status less than them. Such events as the decrees of the prince, the choices of the friar, and the commands of Lord Capulet all greatly influence Romeo and Juliet to take different paths throughout the story. These all greatly influence the course of the story, as the older men of the community decide such things as who shall be married and what the consequences of specific actions will be.

As stated before, the prince is very influential in his first appearance and all throughout the story. Whilst breaking up the street fight in the beginning, he boldly dictates, “If ever you disturb our streets again, / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (1.1.104-105). In turn, both the Montagues and the Capulets attempt to try and keep the peace. This is seen at the Capulet’s party, when Tybalt recognizes Romeo, but Lord Capulet convinces Tybalt to keep to himself to avoid punishment. The prince also effects the events of the story later on, when he makes the decision to banish Romeo instead of kill him. He states, “And for that offense / Immediately we do exile him hence” (3.1.202-203). Exiling Romeo causes following events to take place, and as Romeo is not there to speak with the Friar, he is misinformed about the death of Juliet and takes his own life. Friar Laurence is also an influential character for the duration of the story. Upon agreeing to marry Romeo and Juliet, the friar believes to be doing a humble act, causing the end of the Montague and Capulet feud. Although he is willing to give his life later for the events he has caused, he is not completely sure it is his fault....
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