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Explain how the idea of antithesis is central to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Dan Chudley Explain how the idea of antithesis is central to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet In this essay I am going to look at how antitheses are a big part and how they are central to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. There are many antitheses and oxymorons in the play and I will be examining how they are used and how they drive the play on, entertaining and involving the audience. There are so many examples of opposites in the play, covering language, characters, scenes and backgrounds, focusing in the main on the central theme throughout the play of love and hate. The first and main opposite we encounter in the play is love and hate, in act 1 scene 1 although a trace of all the opposites are always present throughout the play. "my only love sprung from my only hate." Romeo is miserable because of all the people in the world; he has fallen in love with someone from the only family he hates. Fate and freewill could also be linked to love and hate as Romeo and Juliet discovered. "Is love a tender thing? Is it too boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn" Romeo is saying here that love is painful and painful pleasure is another oxymoron used to describe pleasure in a painful sense. ...read more.


A fierce quote of love and hate- Tybalt speaks "what drawn and talk of peace? I hate thee word, as I hate hell, all Montague's and thee: have at thee coward" Tybalt has a very high temper here as the scene builds it up slowly; this fight at the end was almost predictable. The quote clearly shows his hate for the Montague and is a good example of hate as it uses very strong language which puts across the hate that drives the plot and this scene. Tybalt, although quite a young man already has made up his mind about the Montague. He has everything against them and does not appear to ever change his mind. He doesn't, although he doesn't give much of a chance for the Montague to try and make peace. So the main antithesis in this scene is love and hate once again. Light and dark are another familiar opposite in the play. Dark is represented by the constant feud between the families. Light is mostly represented as the love between Romeo and Juliet, being so young and yet so in love. "Blind is his love and best befits the dark" Benvolio is saying that the love he can see between Romeo and Juliet is so strong, that he is blinded and stunned by it. ...read more.


The central opposite has to be love and hate. This is because the play is based upon two people who are in love but who are from two different families who have hated each other for generations. The other opposites in the play are directly linked to this theme. Without one, the other is not as effective or does not exist. The audience would have enjoyed the idea of a young couple fighting against fate, using their strength and freewill to try to bring the two families together, and holding on to their love. This idea again, relies on the antitheses integrated in the play, and the oxymoron's used in the play to create a sense of confusion, happiness, love or hate about the character or scene Antitheses are central to Romeo and Juliet because if they weren't there then the dramatic contrast of love and hate and the other opposites would not exist and the play would be totally ineffective to the audience. The way the theme of opposites is used throughout this play ensure that the audience is kept entertained and on the edge of their seats due to the dramatic impact. It is the use of these opposites which keeps Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet entertaining and amusing. By Dan Chudley 14/12/2004 ...read more.

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