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Death And Violence In Romeo And Juliet By William Shakespeare

2266 words - 9 pages

Death And Violence In Romeo And Juliet By William Shakespeare

Romeo And Juliet is quite possibly the most famous love story of all
time. It has many concurrent themes running throughout the course of
the entire story and one that is very prevalent is that of death and
violence, the violence being both verbal and physical. Shakespeare
merged the themes of death and violence with those of passion, love,
and affection, which contrast beautifully with the more macabre themes
to create a distinctive mood and atmosphere. In this essay I will be
showing exactly how Shakespeare portrayed the said issues of death and
violence in Romeo And Juliet.

Violence often plays a part in media, being shown more and more on
film and television. Nowadays we have trailers or commercials to tell
the prospective viewer of the details of what will happen in what they
are watching. In Shakespeare's time they had prologues at the
beginning of the plays. Prologues were an outline of the story of the
play and the prologue of Romeo and Juliet was no different. It
instantly shows how death and violence was going to be a major aspect
of the play. The lines " From ancient grudge break to new mutiny /
civil blood makes civil hands unclean", show instantaneously how there
has been a grievance between some people who are quite obviously of
the nobility and how the grievance has turned violent and blood is
being shed. The fact that they are of the nobility has more of an
impact as a petty feud like the one the families have would normally
be between families of a lower order or social standing.

Progressing to the opening scene, we get yet more hints that these two
families are so hostile towards each other as two members of the
Capulet faction, Gregory and Samson, enter talking about the sorts of
things they would like to do to any Montague and their maids "will
push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall".
When they come across two Montagues and the aggression spills over
into confrontation as the Capulets begin to 'bite their thumbs' at the
Montagues. This is a sign of disrespect ("I will bite my thumb at
them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it") so the Montagues
take offence and go and confront the Capulets. After some verbal
aggression ("Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing
blow"), a fight breaks out and the non-violent Montague Benvolio
attempts to break it up. More and more members of each family arrive
(Tybalt and Lords Capulet and Montague) and as it escalates to the
brink of a riot it is haltered by the Prince. He issues this grave
warning, "Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace…once more, on pain of
death, all men depart". This basically means that any more public
displays of un-chivalrous behavior from either family will result in
execution. This is...

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