Romeo and Juliet: a Lovers’ Struggle in a World of Conflict

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio Pages: 5 (1997 words) Published: October 12, 2010
Conflict has always been a major theme in literature and especially with the work of Shakespeare; though it is used in different ways. In the modern day there is conflict between race, gender, and age, and always, people are caught between them. Unfortunately, this I s usually the people tying to resolve the matter for the benefit of each side. For example; Martin Luther King, and Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s use of opposites to portray conflict is used in two very different ways. In some places in the play he has shown conflict in a very obvious way using the concept of oxymoronic phrases: the use of opposites in the same sentence. “O, loving hate!”. The use of this particular oxymoron was near to the beginning of the play when Romeo thought that he was in love with Rosaline but really he was just infatuated by her. With the uses of this oxymoronic quote Shakespeare clearly represents Romeo’s slight feeling of anguish and confusion towards Rosaline and the recent family brawl. Conflict is very important within the Shakespeare play because it created tension and a climax which leads to a tragic end. Even at the beginning of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet conflict has sprung. The theme that started was violence against peace. Some characters want peace and others want violence. This is an ongoing theme throughout the play. “I do but keep the peace, put up thy sword.” Tybalt then replies to Benvolio with, “What drown and talk of peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues and thee”. With these quotes you can clearly see out of Benvolio and Tybalt who is on the side of peace and who is on the side of violence and war. It is even stared within Benvolio’s name as a reference to the word benevolent: to be charitable and express kind goodwill and kind feelings. I believe that the name Tybalt is a reference to the word tyrant: someone who is oppressive and a cruel leader. He may not currently be a leader but it may seem that he wants to be. It is very clear that Tybalt is on the side of violence. Another theme within conflict is most likely to be the most prominent; the matter of love verses hate. This antithesis is the first of conflicting opinions of love and hate throughout act one scene one. The play starts with hate; a brawl between the house of Capulet and Montague. I think that the previous quote of hate made by Tybalt definitely defines the hateful mannerism of Tybalt. The other side of hate is love, which takes place mid way through the scene when Benvolio and Juliet meet. It was after the brawl between the youth of Montague and Capulet, Romeo comes into the scene confused and starts to talk about love. He arrives sad as he is out of love. “Why then o brawling love, o loving hate”. This is perceived by the audience as an act of confusion. This is because of the use of oxymorons; as of course there is no brawling love or loving hate. The use of these particular words show that Romeo is deeply confused and possibly even frustrated as he is ‘loving’ someone who will not love him back. I think that this might be the second most important ongoing theme in the play. Another minor opposite within the play is the conflicting personalities of Mercutio, the young wild spirited friend of both Montague and Capulet, and Romeo, the rather timid son of Montague. Romeo can also be misunderstood by his friends and close ones to him. In act one scene four, Mercutio tells Romeo not to be afraid to take charge with love. “If love be rough with you, be rough with love”. This shows he’s being an encouragement to Romeo. But he does not fully understand his situation. When Shakespeare uses the word ‘rough’ in this quote it is an indication that Mercutio is taking the quick easy way out of the problem. I think that this is an opposing theme which is not very important but leads to the conflict just before the death of Mercutio. Soon after, during the Queen Mab speech the conflicting themes of...
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