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Youth and age are in conflict in Romeo and Juliet - Explore how this affects the characters are most deeply affected and why.

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Introduction

Youth and age are in conflict in Romeo and Juliet. Explore how this affects the characters are most deeply affected and why. The story of Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted in a variety of ways: either a simple love story that end s tragically; or as the quarrelling of two families and its result. There is not a single right way of retelling this story. The thesis proposed is that this is a play about youth verses age and how this affects the main charcters, not only Romeo and Juliet but also their families which at the end of the play unite in grief. And the prince says "some shall be pardoned and some punished." (Act5 Sc3 L308) Two families the Capulet and the Montagues in Verona dislike each other and are long standing enemies. ...read more.

Middle

When we first see Montague and Capulet they appear old and foolish compared with the aggression of the youths. Lady Capulet deflates her foolish old husband when he calls for his sword and she replies "a crutch! Why call you for a sword?" (Act1 Sc1 L67) When we first meet Romeo he is a youth who is sick with love: "ay me, sad hours seem long." (Act1 Sc1 L153) Tybalt is represented as the figure of age prepared to stop Romeo "this Montague our foe." On the other hand Capulet welcomes all the young people to the party and calls Romeo a "virtuous youth" but later changes his mind and lady Capulet refers to Romeo in act3 scene5 as "that same villain" Juliet is a young thirteen year old and falls instantly in love with Romeo. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is another example of the conflict that is shown between the young and the old throughout the play. Just as the nurse is Juliet's older helper so is the friar Romeo's adviser and these are examples of when youth and age are not in conflict in the play. In the play age ends up destroying youth because in some ways the older Capulets and Montagues are responsible for the deaths of the younger members of the families and all are equally punished. Death and life are ever present in the play. Of the untimely death of all the six characters who die in the play, only lady Montague is not young. This emphasises how the play concentrates on the passionate worlds of the young and the way in which it is they who must pay the price for the quarrelsome foolishness of the old that leads to so many tragedies. ...read more.

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