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Violence And Conflict In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

3005 words - 12 pages

Violence and Conflict in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Introduction

A boy and a girl, from families who hate each other bitterly, fall in
love, but everything goes wrong for them and they kill themselves
rather than be parted.

Most of the play takes place in 'fair Verona' an attractive little
city in the north of Italy. The action moves quickly from the city
streets to the hall of old Capulet's house, then to the orchard below
Juliet's balcony, to Friar Lawrence’s' lonely cell and finally to the
vault where the Capulet’s and the Montague’s view their dead children.

The play starts on a Sunday morning in the middle of July; less than
five days later - just before dawn on the following Thursday - it is
all over.

Historical background

“Romeo and Juliet was first performed in the Globe theatre in 1595. At
the time, Queen Elizabeth ruled England: she loved the theatre. An
audience in the 16th century would have enjoyed this particular play
because there are scenes of vulgar language and conflict between
feuding families.

First violent scene

Act one Scene one is the opening fighting scene where two of
Capulet’s servants, Sampson and Gregory, wander the streets of Verona
and come across two Montague servants. The Capulet servants show venom
toward the Montague’s

“A dog of the house of Montague moves me”

This shows that not only are the families at war; there is tension
also between the servants. The Capulet servants seem spiteful towards
any person from the other household and shall fight any that cross
their path. The Capulet’s men speak in a crude and vulgar tongue

“I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the
wall”

They seem to enjoy banter between themselves and the Elizabethans
would have enjoyed the sexual references made and yet this is
underlying the love affair between Romeo and Juliet. An Elizabethan
audience would have taken delight in the bawdy innuendos

“Ay, the heads of maids, or their maidenheads”

Steadily, the play is becoming cruder, more vulgar as they play goes
on as this could mean either to behead the women or to take away their
virginity.

Sampson and Gregory only see relationships between men and women in
the crudest term, which serves as a contrast between true love that
exists between Romeo and Juliet.

The audience prepares for trouble as Abram and Balthasar enter but
Sampson and Gregory are two cowardly to make any direct attacks,
instead try to provoke them by frowning and biting their thumbs.
Throughout this part of the scene the language is more abrupt and the
sentences become shorter.

Benvolio does not wish to fight and offers peace to Tybalt

“I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword, or manage it to part these
men with me.”

Benvolio is not looking...

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