The Scarlet Letter

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Romeo and Juliet:
An Anthem of Life

By XuXiaolu

in partial fulfillment of the requirement
for the B.A. degree

Department of Foreign Languages
Nanjing University of
Information Science and Technology

June 2005
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Romeo and Juliet: An Anthem(È«ÎÄÓôÊҪͳһ) of Life Abstract Shakespeare¡¯s Romeo and Juliet does not coincide with Aristotle¡¯s tragic theories; it is more like a comedy. During the period when feudalism was declining, humanism was not totally established. Some obstinate feudalist conventions such as blood revenge still existed in the former big feudal families, and became the last fortress to struggle. Feud idea was not only laughed at by the citizens who had accepted the new ideology, but abandoned by the younger generation in those big families. This love story, based on this background, presents a striking contrast to the suffocating old thinking. During a series of conflicts with their fathers, this couple¡¯ maturity in youth, love and their paean of life are gradually revealed until these two hearts twinkling in the darkness get married in a shocking way. They, therefore, demonstrate their warm-hearted pursuits and powerful strugglings in order to win the Renaissance mode of love, friendship, happiness and coordination, and death here symbolizes both the doom of the old system and the beginning of new life. Keywords Romeo and Juliet, paean of life,(È«ÎÄÓôÊҪͳһ)comedy

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Different from Shakespeare¡¯s four great tragedies, Romeo and Juliet, to some degree, is not a tragedy of a couple of lovers if it is measured with the fundamental principle of a classical tragedy in Aristotle¡¯s theories: happening between close relatives such as husband and wife in Othello, parents and children in King Lear and Hamlet or king and lord in Macbeth. This young couple love with the truthfulness of youth¡¯s first love and enter the nether land one after another harmoniously so that their love and death are a psalm of life as well as a criticism of the feudal tradition¡ªthe feud between households; more exactly, it is a tragedy of society. I. The Latent Hostility

The feud between families in feudal society once did great harm to the houses and the people around. Though the new capitalist system is accepted in public affairs, the new mode in family relationship does not spread. The remainder of this feudalist revenge tradition continues to be a very harmful barrier, but this unwritten law is only used to safeguard the honor of two big rich families by expressing their indignation. There might exists some bloody feud between Montague and Capulet in their family histories; among those members, only Tybalt, nephew to Capulet¡¯s wife, is the firmest defender of this schism, for he is always ready to fight with any Montague. To most people on either side, it is nearly of no significance. Even so, their enmity is still the obstacle of peace in Verona, which has aroused the citizens¡¯ strong...
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