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“Romeo and Juliet” - Youth and Age

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"Romeo and Juliet" - Youth and Age The play "Romeo and Juliet" presents true love in the form of 'star-crossed lovers' and just as their love is depicted as eternal, the play itself has endured for years. It tells of two young lovers from opposing families, the Montagues and the Capulets, who fall in love after an accidental meeting at a grand party hosted by one of their parents. They marry in secret but cannot escape the consequences of their families' savage quarrel and, although helped by an elderly Friar whose dangerous machinations fail to materialize successfully, the children kill themselves rather than be parted from one another. This tragic tale could possibly have been averted if not for many of the older characters in the play whose superciliousness and chauvinism affect the lives of the people around them. The differences between old and young, between vigilant, mature wisdom and youthful, impetuous emotion are striking in this play. Two of the key older characters in the play are Lord Capulet himself, father of Juliet, and Friar Lawrence, an empathetic priest and a good friend of Romeo. Their behaviour and actions made a significant contribution to the tragic and untimely deaths of Romeo and Juliet, yet in contrasting ways. ...read more.


In his first appearance in the play, Friar Lawrence contemplates the balance of good and evil in all things natural. The Friar's Monologue suggests that good things can turn bad if misused, and bad things can do good, under the right circumstances. This paradox sheds light on the Friar's own character and his actions during the play. Romeo when approaching the Friar, tells him that he has fallen in love with Juliet and he responds by saying that the relationship between them may serve to bring the two warring families together, "For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your households' rancour into pure love." Friar Lawrence hopes for reconciliation between the two families but he should have foreseen that such happiness could not be brought about simply and could of done something about Romeo's infatuation with Juliet. This can also be said for when the Friar marries the two lovers later on in the play but Friar Lawrence does recognise that the use of sacrament of matrimony in such a stealthy manner may well have terrible consequences and worries that a sad ending will result, "So smile the heavens upon this holy act, That after hours with sorrow chide us not!" ...read more.


The friar tells the whole poignant tale and concludes by implicating the Nurse and himself in the debacle. He does not apologize for his role, but says that if anything has transpired is his fault, he should be punished, "...If aught in this Miscarried be my fault, let my old life Be sacrific'd, some hour before his time, Unto the rigour of severest law." Though the Prince does not punish the Friar, we could argue whether such leniency is appropriate. Apparently, the Friar still believes that his actions were justified yet as we have seen by his actions and behaviour, "Romeo and Juliet" ends with Friar Lawrence looking reasonably responsible for the deaths of the plays protagonists. However, as he mentioned in his brief monologue in the Monastery, he truly believes that bad can turn to good under the right circumstances, and his deeds seem merely misguided. Friar Lawrence becomes a victim, rather than a cause, of the tragedy. To recapitulate, both of the older characters mentioned here, Lord Capulet and Friar Lawrence, both behaved and acted in ways that could easily contribute to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet but cannot solely be blamed for the tragedy as they were often doing what they considered to be reasonable and right. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Hassell ...read more.

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