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How Are Family Relationships Presented In Romeo And Juliet? Compare And Contrast With Your Wider Reading

1194 words - 5 pages

In 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare, family relationships are absolutely vital and their importance could be argued to be greater than that of romantic relationships. This is a very unusual stand point, as most other literature produced in the Elizabethian era was that of romantic love, rather than of family connections. This play, however, show's romantic love in the light of family relationships, and sees the test that it may have on a these families to accept change into their lives. As the Monatgues and the Capulet's are sworn enemies, the rivalry between their families is almost unbreakable. Throughout the play, we see many points in which their hatred for each other is ...view middle of the document...

As the feud between both the Capulets and Montagues has gone on for centuries, and the reasons for this hatred are not mentioned within the whole of the play, we would assume that this sudden rage from Tybalt is almost absurd, whatever character it is directed at. This would maybe lead to the fact that this play is a tragedy, and that everything is set to happen from the very beginning and would suggest that even if Tybalt's rage is entitled to save his own family from harm, he is ultimately still destined to die for his families naivety. From studying the character of Tybalt, it would seem obvious to me that Tybalt's rage is his ultimate undoing in the play, and thus his close relationship and loyalty to his family is the reason he died for.
Another interesting family relationship within the play is between Lord Capulet and Juliet. Similarly to Lord Capulet and Tybalt, this relationship is also another power struggle, as Juliet is fighting for her right to choose her own lover. This would be a very uncomfortable topic for the original Elizabethan audience of the play, as arranged marriages in the Elizabethan time period were almost compulsary, and a daughter disobeying her father would be looked on as a sign of weakness on the father's part. Lord Capulet and Juliet's exchange in Act 3 scene 5 is the epitome of this, as Juliet shows resentment towards her father for arranging her a marriage with a handsome and wealthy man, Paris. Their exchange within the scene is incredibly violent, with language that creates a rather bitter atmosphere for the audience. Words such as 'Worthless' and 'Wretch' are used to make clear Lord Capulet's feelings towards his daughter and the line 'My fingers itch.' have obvious connotations of physical abuse, and this shows a complete opposite of emotion from that of which we previously saw from Lord Capulet. In earlier scenes, he is highly protective and loving of his only child, and even suggested that he would like Juliet to marry for love; "My will to her consent is but a part.". Having this sort of contrast can only mean that Lord Capulet is not a man of his word, and will do anything to protect the financial and class status of the family, even at the expense of his only daughters happiness. This, in sorts, is a way of protecting the family using superficial love, whilst still...

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