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How Does Shakespeare Present Confilct in Act 1?

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How does Shakespeare present conflict in Act 1?
During Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare bases a lot of the play on conflict. Immediately, from the first scene, it is obvious there is a lot of conflict present. The conflict in Romeo and Juliet consists of two opposing families and is expressed in a number of words and ways. These include conflict such as a struggle between two characters in the play or even conflict between just one person. In his/her actions. Having this conflict has a real positive impact on a play making it exciting, fun, interesting and leaving people wanting to know more! It’s as much present as it was back in Shakespearean times as it is now. An example of modern conflict is shown in the popular soap opera, Eastenders.
In this play it is clear that conflict is present, and is shown in the beginning, in the prologue. The prologue is written in a sonnet, which is 14 lines that follow certain rules. This almost prepares the reader/audience for a whole play full of conflict. It does this by saying lyrics like “from ancient grudge break to new mutiny”.
This is basically telling the audience that, from the hate between the two families, a fight breaks out. So therefore there will be conflict immediately from the start.
It also reads “Continuance of their parents rage”
This then tells us that the conflict is also in the parents and has been present for a long time. This therefore makes it seem hard for peace ever to be found.
Even if you just selected a few words from this text you would be able to see how clearly conflict is present.
“Grudge…civil… blood…death”
Any of these words are immediately associated and bring up images of conflict in many people’s minds.

The first example of actual conflict is shown at the start. It’s also one of the most obvious presented in the play. The “ancient” feud between the two houses. This is shown by insults being thrown at each other and also physical violence. The result of this first conflict is a key component in the play. As you later find out that, anyone next to break the peace in Verona, shall have to face consequences. This obviously proves deadly for Romeo And Juliet, shown also later in the play. This therefore shows the conflict between not only Montague’s and Capulet’s but their honour and the law.

Another way that conflict is presented is in the choice of language and words he uses. Especially when it keeps appearing repeatedly throughout the book. Such as the word (on page 9, line 86)
“Cankered”
This is said many times, and is fully said as “cankered hate”. Cankered meaning like a cancer.
This is very clever because when you think about cancer you can associate it a lot to the play, in the form of love and conflict. These associations including: It spreading, eating away at you, being evil and fatal and can really affect anyone.

Lastly Shakespeare also uses oxymoron’s in Romeos speech which is also echoed again by Juliet later on. An example of this is said by Romeo
“O brawling Love, O loving hate”
The two lines and selection of words contradict each other and therefore conflict is then presented in the words that he uses and adds to the whole idea of it. It also helps to show the conflict inside his head and confusion which is hurting him. This is therefore also an example of conflict not just between the families, but between, one character and their actions and thoughts inside their head.

Overall, conflict is definitely evident throughout Act 1 and even whole play and is presented in a number of different ways. It’s still very interesting to see how ideas are still very similar in modern films and shows. Especially when you watch the recent film. You see how his ideas of conflict presented are still very easy to see and use when you think about it in a modern situation.

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