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Romeo and Juliet: Act One Scene One. Despite all the violence that eventually follows, Act One Scene One for the most part borders on comical. Sampson and Gregory exchange sex jokes linked to the conflict

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Romeo and Juliet is certainly a tragedy, where family conflict leads to death - the prologue tells us 'two star crossed lovers take their life' and, because of this, 'bury their parents strife'. So the audience know what will happen in Romeo and Juliet as a result of this: two lovers will commit suicide because of an ongoing conflict. It is in Act One Scene One, however, that we actually get to see this conflict dramatised for the first time. The scene picks up the theme of violence straight away from the stage directions - the two Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory enter 'armed'. This shows that they are ready for fighting and also symbolises their willingness to do so. The audience also recognise that they are ready to protect themselves should the need arise - and indeed, later on in this scene it does, however they bring it on themselves. Another point made in the stage directions is the setting: 'Verona, a street'. Being told that the setting is a normal street shows that the conflict has spread among the civilians. This is also shown when they join in the brawl later on in the scene, once again shown by stage directions, 'CITIZENS enter, armed'. ...read more.


Ironically, Capulet and Montague are never shown fighting. It is the servants and the younger generation (the generation of Romeo and Juliet) that start and are involved in the fight. Most of these unnecessary events are simply caused by interference. The brawl started in this particular scene is kicked off by Sampson and Gregory noticing Abram and deciding to insult him, letting him decide what happens next. Had they not interfered with Abram, the fight would probably have been averted. Instead, Sampson and Gregory tried to get around the law and deliberately start a fight. As the scene continues the fighting escalates, with the nobles eventually getting involved. Benvolio and Tybalt, cousins of Romeo and Juliet respectively, are introduced. They are introduced in such a manner, however, that does nothing to stop the fighting. Benvolio enters in an attempt to break up his fight, but does so by drawing his sword - ironic because he is trying to 'keep the peace' with a weapon. Tybalt enters and sees this irony, before issuing a death threat and begins fighting Benvolio. These two characters are juxtaposition, with Tybalt's fiery nature and eagerness to fight - 'In the instant came the fiery Tybalt, with his sword prepared' - and Benvolio's unwillingness to get involved and desire to prevent the fighting, in short, to 'keep the peace'. ...read more.


No, it is Romeo and Juliet who end up dead as a result of this family conflict. They become the forfeit as the warning was not taken. 'civil brawls, bred of an airy word' hints that violence is so easily started between the families by something as simple as a conversation, which is how the fight between the servants started. Sampson and Gregory attempted to get around the law by choosing their words carefully, but nevertheless a brawl was started. It is a ridiculous way to start a fight, and had Sampson not bitten his thumb at Abram, the two would probably have been able to have a normal conversation without hostile 'airy words' getting in the way. Within the whole of Act One Scene One are many smaller dramas representing violence, for example, Sampson and Gregory vs. Abram, Benvolio vs. Tybalt, and ultimately the Montague House vs. The Capulet House that all make up this opening fight. Nearly all of the Prince's society is affected, the two Houses being the most so. It is almost like a disease running through everyone, which links with Mercutio's dying words 'A plague o' both your houses!' The 'plague' is set to poison - indeed, Romeo drinks poison to kill himself - and destroy. It is the two houses' family conflict that poisons the community and ultimately destroys Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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