Comparative Essay: Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio Pages: 8 (3074 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Jun 14, 2013

For most time a tragedy is more appealing than a comedy. Because it can cause great suffering, and destruction so that readers will not forget it for a long time. Probably because of tragic elements, both Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee are well known works. At the same time, there are sort of similarities between them. By examining, conflicts, weaknesses of humanity and deaths, common elements of tragedy are demonstrated.

The first tragic similarity in Romeo and Juliet and To Kill A Mockingbird is they both have conflicts. For example, the conflict of the Capulets and the Montagues is stated at the very beginning of the play. These two families are of equal noble rank, “[i]n fair Verona, break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean ”(Shakespeare I pro 1-4 ). Both families obtain similar identities and wealth. Unfortunately, they are foes and the “new mutiny” is sharper because of “civil blood”. As a result, neither side will allow their family members keep any connections with each other, this hate is the source of the tragedy in Romeo and Juliet’s love. Similar in To Kill Mockingbird, the divide between white and black communities is as sharp as it between the Montagues and the Capulets. For instance, in the Maycomb town square white and black people are waiting separately for the trail start. Scout sees Mr. Dolphus Raymond staying with black people in the corner. She is confused that a white man sitting with black people. Jem tells her he has a black wife and some mixed children, who “don’t belong anywhere. Colored

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folks won’t have’em because they’re half white; white folks won’t have ’em ’cause they’re colored, so they’re just in-betweens” (Lee 161). Exactly, because Mr. Dolphus Raymond’s wife is colored, although he is a wealthy white man, he cannot do anything to make their mixed kids feel accept by either community. The society is divided into two sections, but these innocent kids merely are “in-betweens”. Why does this ridiculous and embarrassed thing happen? All of this is caused by the prejudice and hate between white and black people. And it is much worse than Montague and Capulet’s that it is an unequal discriminated relationship. After all, these children have a rich father, do not need to worry about their life. And the more tragic thing will happen based on that deep and serious conflict. In addition, under the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets, Romeo and Tybalt also have conflicts as a member of each side. When Romeo Benvolio and Mercutio leads by a servant to the house with masks, Tybalt figures them out by voice.Under his extreme rage to Montagues, he swears, “How by the stock and honour of my skin, [t]o strike him dead, hold it not a sin” ( Shakespeare I.v. 56-57). But he is unable to Sir Capulet stops him. Then they meet again on the street, Tybalt killed Mercutio and Romeo is out of control, and sighs, “ This day’s black fate on more days doth depend: [t]his but begins the woe others must end ” (Shakespeare III.i.115-116) Then Tybalt dies in the fight. Tybalt’s emotion and behavior indicate that he hate Romeo and even wants “to strike him dead”. However, his hostile feelings towards Romeo does not hurt the latter any more, instead, he kills innocent Mercutio and himself. Romeo predicts that this is only the start of tragedy. Just as Tybalt hates Romeo, Bob Ewell shows similar hatred towards Atticus. One day, Scout and Jem are one the way home from school, Bob Ewell follows and then attacks them. However, he does not gain any advantages but is stabbed by Boo Redley. And Mr. Tate affirms that “Mr. Ewell f[a]ll[s] on his knife”(Lee 276). Apparently, the Ewells are trash, and he has a strong prejudice against Atticus. Their conflict does...

Cited: Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet, Ed. Alan Durband, London, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc, 1985 Lee, Harper, To Kill A Mockingbird, Warner Books. Inc, New York
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