Analysis Of William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

3583 words - 14 pages

Analysis of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

'Romeo and Juliet' was a play written by William Shakespearein 1595.
William Shakespeare died on St. George's day, 23rd April, 1616, making
'Romeo and Juliet' one of his earlier plays; written in what is now
described as his second period, from his joining the Lord
Chamberlain's men in 1594 to the opening of the Globe Theatre in 1599.
The diversity of Shakespeare's work included comedies, histories and
tragedies as well as poetry. 'Romeo and Juliet' comes under the
category of a tragedy, tragedy meaning an event in which something
dreadful occurs, or in a theatrical sense a serious play with a tragic
theme, often involving a heroic struggle and the downfall of the main
character. This definition of tragedy relates to 'Romeo and Juliet'
because it is a play in which both the principal characters die in
preventable circumstances at the close of the play. The downfall of
Romeo and Juliet occurs by the fact that both characters start as
young, beautiful descendents of powerful families and find themselves
fleeing the city of Verona in fear of their lives and their
relationship - both banished by the authorities or their own
households.

However, an alternative view could be developed by looking at the
perception of the word tragedy when the play was written; in the late
16th century. People of the time were of the view that if something
tragic were to happen it must happen to a person of innocence,
otherwise it is not technically tragic. Romeo is not an innocent
person because he takes the life of another person on more that one
occasion, with the murders of Tybalt and Paris. Even though there is
the argument that these crimes were a consequence of his obsessive and
at times over-enthusiastic love for Juliet, they are still actions
that take away his virtuousness. Juliet damages her purity by treating
the wishes and guidance of her parents with contempt and disregarding
the arranged marriage to Paris. These egocentric actions help develop
another, more imperfect impression of the two protagonists which
provides an argument against 'Romeo and Juliet' being a tragic play.

In further illustration, tragic storylines generally end in unhappy
circumstances, which on the one hand 'Romeo and Juliet' does with the
many deaths, "for never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet
and her Romeo." Whilst on the other hand it could be argued that a
more exultant conclusion occurs by the fact that the long-standing
feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is finally resolved
through their deaths. Basis for this statement is provided in the
final scene by Capulet, "O brother Montague, give me thy hand, this is
my daughter's jointure, for no more can I demand."

In Shakespearean times 'Romeo and Juliet' would have been compared to
such...

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