Romeo and Juliet Conflict
Romeo and Juliet is a timeless love story about two ‘star crossed lovers’ whose love is destined to fail due to an ongoing conflict between their two families which has been going on since before the lovers were even born. The story line has been an inspiration to many modern day stories such as the hit west end musical ‘west side story.’ The conflict between the two families has often been compared to the ongoing brawl between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
From the beginning it is evident that conflict will play a large role in the play. The prologue states ‘from ancient grudge’ this gives us the impression that conflict between these two families is not a new thing but has been going on for a long period of time. Although we are not told how the feud between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s began it is made clear that whatever happened was serious. For example in the opening scene there is a huge battle between the two families in the street where even servants are getting involved. When Old Montague and Capulet enter we can see that it is not just the younger family members who keep this feud going but also the older members. ‘My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, and flourishes his blade in spite of me.’
When we first meet Romeo he is love sick for Rosaline who is a Capulet which is in a way foreshadowing the love that he will have for Juliet Capulet, this is an open invite for conflict. When Romeo makes the rash decision to go to the party, he is playing with fate for even though he is not aware of Juliet’s existence yet he is still chasing after Rosaline, niece of his families great enemy. Romeo has doubts about going to the party (‘Tis no wit to go’) because of a dream he had that foretold that something would go wrong but nevertheless he decides to go and his doomed fate is sealed. There is a big enough risk of provoking an even deeper feud between the two families whilst he is chasing after