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Violence And Conflict In Romeo And Juliet By William Shakespeare

3667 words - 15 pages

Violence and Conflict in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a tragedy about “a pair of star cross’d lovers”,
blinded by their love for one another; it is a classic story of
forbidden love, with scenes of high drama, killing and a tragic
ending. The play both opens and ends with violent scenes, caused by
the on going ‘grudge’ between the two families. The feud between the
Montagues and the Capulets reigns supreme, and rules seemingly over
love, over justice, in an almost unfair manner, as ‘civil blood makes
civil hands unclean’. The image of violence being so unfair exists
prominently in the deaths of the central characters of the cast. The
young and pure lives of ‘Romeo’ and ‘Juliet’ is brought to a
despicable end through the violence around them, which eventually
brings about reconciliation between the families. Violence and
conflict are the main themes of the play. Violence is the act of
physically trying to injure someone; it is shown throughout the play
accompanied by conflict. Conflict is tension and disagreement over a
subject of discussion that can occur frequently. Many opposites such
as love and hate, life and death have been used repeatedly to emphasis
the conflict, which is presented well by William Shakespeare on
different levels and in many ways. The themes of love and hate are
used effectively, by applying different language, and the emotions
expressed by the use of soliloquies. A great deal of violence and
tension is built up from the start, but contrasted with the right
amount of romance, producing an even balance. Shakespeare's use of
contrast is well established in his opening prose, where he describes
"Fair Verona where we lay our scene" with such romanticism and poetic
taste, only to destroy this amity with descriptions of “mutiny”, and
"civil blood”. The tension between these human emotions and the fine
balance between passionate love and passionate hatred has a grand
impact on the atmosphere and success of the play. Also, Shakespeare
instantly instils dramatic irony into the play, as the prologue
briefly reveals the tragedy to take place throughout, “the two hours
traffic” on stage. From the introductory prologue, it becomes
evidently clear that Romeo and Juliet’s love is “death marked” and
their life is a “fearful passage” no doubt with an end. This creates a
sense of impending, and inevitable tragedy, where violence and
conflict is expected, rousing more interest and empathy rather than
losing it. As, this technique leaves the audience to ponder the sullen
irony that not even compassion can break the code of quarrel, only
untimely death. Since the “star-cross’d” lovers are cruelly against an
“ancient grudge”.

In “Romeo and Juliet” there are two main forms in which conflict comes
into the play. These being physical conflict...

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