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Romeo and Juliet

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Montague, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet Capulet / Pages: 5 (1250 words) / Published: Mar 30th, 2006
Shakespeare's Message in Romeo and Juliet

The two most powerful forces in human nature are love and hate. William Shakespeare is able to contradict these forces and tests them against each other in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet must overcome the hate of their despiteful families to be with one another for they have fallen into a deep, passionate love. Although hate does a lot of damage and causes a lot of pain between these "star crossed lovers" and their families, love is proven to be stronger in the end. Shakespeare's overall message of the play Romeo and Juliet is that love -displayed thorough Romeo and Juliet- is stronger than the hate of their families and therefore, is able to conquer it.
For unknown reasons, the Montagues and Capulets are enemies and hate each other to a great extent. These two equals in wealth and social status are involved in numerous fights displaying their hatred for one another. A pointless fight in the streets of Verona is showed in the opening act and is broken up when the prince arrives. He seems to be fed up with the constant feuds between them declaring, "Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace…three civil brawls, bred to an airy word. By thee, Old Capulet, and Montague, have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets…. Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace"(I, i, 86) When Romeo hears of the recent fight he wearily says, " Here's much to do with hate, but more with love"(I, i, 173). This statement means that the Capulets and Montagues love to fight each other, which is the reason for their constantly pointless fights. Another example of their hatred is when Tybalt spies Romeo at the party and says to Lord Capulet,"Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe, a villain … to strike him dead I hold it not a sin"(I, v, 65). This statement is also foreshadowing the climactic fight between Tybalt and Romeo, which leads to the death of Tybalt and the terrible banishment of Romeo. When Juliet is first informed of Tybalt's murder, she indulges in great hatred towards the man who had murdered him. This hatred is quickly overpowered by her love for Romeo when she discoveres that it was him who was responsible for killing her beloved cousin. She no longer envies the man responsible for Tybalt's death and is more concerned with the fact that Romeo-her dearly loved husband- is banished from the city. She expressed this thought by exclaiming, " Tybalt is dead, and Romeo –banished…that one word "banished," hath slain ten thousand Tybalts." (III, i, 110) The growing hatred between the Montagues and Capulets is at its peek when Romeo is convicted of murdering Tybalt; however the love between Juliet and Romeo also grows because it is able to overcome the obstacle and they long to be with each other even more when Romeo is banished.
Romeo and Juliet's love proves to be stronger than the hatred of their families. They both learn who the other is after they have fallen in love and the realization that they are enemies does not interfere with their passion. Romeo says, "Is she a Capulet. O dear account! My life is my foe's debt"(I, v, 116). By this Romeo means that since Juliet is a Capulet, his life is at the mercy of the enemies of his family. Juliet's first response to the realization was " My only love, sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy"(I, ii, 140). Juliet is a bit skeptical at first on whether or not she should be getting involved with a Montague, but soon decides that it does not matter for Romeo is who she truly loves. Juliet expresses her troubles during the balcony scene on the matter of realizing that the one she loves is her families' enemy by saying, "Tis but that name that is my enemy. …Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name: and for thy name, which is no part of thee, take all myself" (II, ii, 50) The power of love over hate also shows when Romeo expresses to Juliet "My life were better ended by their hate, then death prorogue, wanting of thy love" (II, ii, 78) This means that Romeo would rather be killed by hate than going through life and never experiencing the love that has evolved between him and Juliet. Hence, for the sake of their love, Romeo and Juliet are able to except the fact that their families are enemies and believe that their love could overpower the existing hatred.
The hatred of the Montagues and Capulets finally resolves when the two opposing families discover the love between Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately, this is after Romeo and Juliet have already taken their own lives in desperation of not being able to be with each other. Once everything about Romeo and Juliet's love and death has been revealed, the prince mournfully addresses to Capulet and Montague "See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heavens finds means to kill your joys with love"(IV, iii, 290). In these words he states that love found a way to conquer hate through the lives of their beloved children. The foolish hatred between the two families faults the terrible fate of the two young lovers, for if they had not been so involved with constantly fighting, they would have paid attention to what was truly important. The families both realize what their hate and animosity has caused and decide that fighting is not worth it and needs to come to an end. Capulet begins the alliance by saying to Montague, "O brother Montague, give me thy hand. This is my daughter's jointure, for no more can I demand."(IV, iii, 295) Montague responds by saying "But I can give thee more: For I will raise her statue in pure gold, …There shall no figure at such rate be set, As that of true and faithful Juliet"(IV, iii, 300) Capulet then seals the alliance by saying "As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's side-Poor sacrifices of our enmity!"(IV, iii, 303) These verses show that the feud has ended and they want to honor each other for being the family of the ones their children had married. They also hope to honor their children and the significance of their love by making gold statues of them. This way Romeo and Juliet will never be forgotten and be represented as a symbol of love conquering hatred.
In conclusion, the message in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is that love is stronger and has the ability to overpower hate. Foolish hate is displayed between the great Capulet and Montague families but is resolved with the secret love of their children who turn out to be the mature ones for being able to pursue the love found between themselves and stop the hatred. Evidently, Shakespeare is able to illuminate the fact that love is greater than hate and that there is no need for such envy in the world. Hate can only bring grief and should be put to an end because love is what truly matters even if it takes such young lovers to prove it.

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