Violence and Conflict in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
“Romeo and Juliet” is a large tragic play, which is about two feuding
families the Montagues and the Capulets of Verona. Although it is a
play about love, there are many scenes that contain violence and
conflict. The play opens with a conflict between the Capulet and
Montague households who become involved in arguments in a public place
in Verona, they lose their tempers and swords are drawn. The play ends
with two innocent people dieing to do with the two feuding families.
The violence in the play happens because of an ancient feud between
the Montagues and the Capulets, which leads to the tragic deaths of
Romeo and Juliet. The play is still relevant today because there still
are families who don’t want their sixteen year-old daughters to go out
with a thirty five year-old men, also some people don’t want their
children marrying different religions other than their own i.e.
Protestants and Catholics.
In this essay I will discuss Act 1 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene
5 and Act 5 Scene 3.
“Romeo and Juliet” was written by William Shakespeare and first
performed in 1597. It is set in the 16th Century. When Shakespeare
wrote the play Elizabeth 1st ruled England. She loved the theatre.
People in the 16th Century were fond of any sort of entertainment.
They liked watching death and brevity of life. Yet death and violence
also fascinated many Elizabethans. Shakespeare’s plays reflect
optimism and pessimism in the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare’s plays and
poems all show signs of confused gloomy and weird social attitudes of
the time. It was important for Shakespeare to make his plays as
exciting as possible, because every background and religion went to
watch them and if the actors were not good they got booed off the
stage. An audience in the 16th Century would have liked “Romeo and
Juliet” because although work had to be done, leisure was an important
part of the lives of the English people during Elizabethan times.
In the 16th Century there was perfect cultural achievement,
particularly in the area of music and drama. People would have liked
this play because it contains scenes of an adult nature and violence,
it is classed as a play for young and old, there is lots of excellent
music in which people could have a dance and sing along with, also
Shakespeare’s plays have several themes in them.
I am going to analyse Act 1 Scene 1 which is the opening fight scene.
It is a very violent start, even the language. The scene takes place
in Verona. Samson and Gregory are from the Capulet household and
Abraham and Benvolio are from the Montagues, they are servants for
each of the households. The fight starts “Nay as they dare. I will
bite my thumb at them, which is disgrace to them if they bear it”. The