Violence in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Violence is the main theme in Romeo and Juliet, even more than love,
hate, rivalry, passion and broken friendships.
The play is set in ‘Fair Verona’ which is in the North of Italy, which
has a population conformed of a Prince, two main households, the
‘Capulets’ and the ‘Montagues’, their servicemen, friends, the town’s
noble man ‘Paris’, the priest ‘friar Lawrence’ and the rest of the
Shakespeare’s choice of violent language in the ‘Prologue’ was very
effective, as it was unusual for a play to be introduced in that way
in Shakespearian times. Therefore this gave the audience a feeling of
uncertainty, anticipation and intense interest for the first scene.
The word ‘Mutiny’ is a very simple word yet; it is competent and
straightforward. Also, the word ‘star-cross’d’ means ill fated, from
this it can be inferred that no matter what happens throughout the
play the outcome will be evil.
‘Death-mark’d’ means that from the beginning it was set that the only
possible consequence is for the characters will be to die.
‘Act 1 Scene 1’ is introduced by a fight conducted by the servants
from both, the ‘Montague’ and the ‘Capulet’ household. This suggests
that the dispute between the households has been going on for a long
time back as even the lowest people in the land are affected by it.
The language used by the men is very unorthodox and possibly though of
as vulgar for their era. A vast amount of slang and insults are used,
‘Carry coals’ this was a current slang word used this was an insult
because ‘colliers’ were thought to be dirty and dishonest. A lot of
puns and references to the more important characters are used.
‘Sampson’ biting his thumb at ‘Abram’ and the other ‘Montague’
servants started the fight, biting your thumb was a form of showing
the other party that they have been challenged and that they are
‘Benvolio’ is one of Romeo’s friends, he is one of the most sensitive,
expressive and lest violent characters in the play, as his name means
‘Benvolio’ tells the others, both ‘Montague’ and ‘Capulet’ to stop the
fighting and arguing and to be rational.
‘I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword, or manage it to part
these men with me’ Act 1 scene 1 line 60-61.
Benvolio’s use of language suggests that he wants to stop the
quarrel, yet, he hopes to do this using violence to, his actions also
suggest this as he beats down the other men’s swords with his own,
using violence to achieve this.
‘Tybalt’, ‘Juliet’s’ cousin is proud, thinks highly of himself, but
unlike ‘Benvolio’, he is easily provoked and will do anything to stop
himself from looking weak and likewise equal to anyone else. Tybalt
uses powerful language; it differs from the servants as he gets his