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Violence And Conflict In 'romeo And Juliet' By William Shakespeare

1443 words - 6 pages

Violence and Conflict in 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare

In any play by the well-known William Shakespeare, there is bound to
be plenty of meat on the bone in regards to the script. Underneath
the concrete elements of character, plot and theme there are very
complex and unique ideas and images. Throughout one of Shakespeare's
more established plays, Romeo and Juliet, many images are evoked
through the playwright's mastery--one of the key ones being the
violence that envelopes the world of Verona. Shakespeare produces
fantastic visions of violence in the world, through what happens in
the play. A few main violent images brought about by the work is that
it is unfair, universal, and overpowering, yet it also ultimately
serves as a sense of hope and rebirth.

In Verona, the feud between the Capulets and Montagues 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 so many
of the cast. We see the two obvious images of the tragic death
brought on by violence, in the two lovers Romeo and Juliet. Their
young, pure lives are brought to a despicable end through the violence
around them. Had this whole bloody feud between the Capulets and
Montagues never of been so great, then they would have been able to
marry in peace and happiness, instead of doing all that they could,
but only to end up dead together in Juliet's tomb. Quite an unfair
notion. This image along with the death of Romeo's friend Mercutio
helps to convey the idea that violence is an unfair, powerful aspect
of their world. When Romeo convinces Mercutio to not confront Tybalt,
then Mercutio pays the price with his death--an ambush from his sly
opponent. Therefore, what seemed as a positive outcome turns into a
great loss for both sides of the feud, which comes across as unfair to
whomever looks upon the situation. Then to take revenge upon Tybalt,
Romeo runs him through and slays him--to only avenge his friend.
Afterward, he is banished from the city for that deed, even though it
was Tybalt who had started the whole quarrel. What's done is done,
yet Romeo has suffered greatly from something that was not entirely
his fault. These instances all show how violence is shown as a very
unfair image, and a very rotten one at that.

Aside from that idea, violence is also portrayed as universal. In the
very first scene of the play, there is a barroom brawl type of event,
in which lowly peasants and soldiers get into a quarrel. This whole
fight starts from a mere mentioning of a few words, which sets off a
large reaction between the characters, ending in a large collision.
As said by Samson, "a dog of the house of Montague moves me". To
portray the image...

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