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Examine the role of authority in Romeo and Juliet and discuss its relevance to an Elizabethan audience

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Introduction

Title: Examine the role of authority in Romeo and Juliet and discuss its relevance to an Elizabethan audience This play was written by William Shakespeare in the late 16th century. It was intended to be performed to a live audience in the Elizabethan period. It was not proposed for a modern day audience. It the period it was written views such as religion, life, authority and much more so their views are much different to ours. There are three main types of authority. The state was one of those key figures. Prince Escalus of Verona was the head of state. This means he had the power to make new laws, arrest people, imprison them, execute and banish people. He was probably in charge of an army or a police force. At this point of time Italy was split into 'city states' Verona was one of these. So Prince Escalus was in charge of Verona. An Elizabethan audience would understand because Queen Elizabeth I had free rule of England and could do as she pleased imprisoning people, executing and much more. ...read more.

Middle

He uses his authority by advising people what to do, although his authority leads to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet's deaths. But one of the reasons of using that authority to give that advice of marriage was that he thought that Romeo and Juliet would break the sin of fornication. So he was partly forced into that decision. When giving the advice for Romeo and Juliet to marry he was calm and collected. For example 'For by your leaves, you shall not stay alone, till holy church incorporate two in one' The audience would react to this badly because the friar is undermining the authority of the parents of the families. If the families were to find out what the friar has done they would not be pleased with the church and Friar Lawrence. In this text Friar Lawrence is speaking about them getting married in the soon future. The language he uses is quite intellectual and philosophical. But by agreeing to hold the marriage he is undermining the authority of the parents of both Romeo and Juliet especially the Capulets. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reason for this is Tybalt his nephew has been slain and to take Juliet's mind off the death off her cousin. In the quotation I have just used the language used by Capulet is extremely forceful and aggressive. My quotation earlier in the play when Capulet declines Paris's offer is courteous, unlike when he speaks to his daughter in a ferocious way. 'Content thee gentle coz, let him alone' This is taken from when Lord Capulet is telling Tybalt not to start a fight against Romeo. From the evidence from this quotation makes it even more surprising when Capulet shouts at Juliet. Authority of the family from the father of the household can be spread to the servants the nurse advises Juliet in the end to marry Paris. This is not her conscience talking, if she advises Juliet to marry Romeo, Lord Capulet would fire her. In the end of the play William Shakespeare's message to an Elizabethan audience would be that the role of authority is important, and that lies and disobedience get you nowhere. Even though how much they loved each other it wasn't right. But to a modern day audience it might portray a different message. ...read more.

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