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“The only possible ending to Romeo andJuliet must be a tragic one and the audience knows this very early on in the play”  Discuss.

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Introduction

"The only possible ending to Romeo and Juliet must be a tragic one and the audience knows this very early on in the play." Discuss. "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the best-known, tragic love stories ever written. The tale of "A pair of star-crossed lovers" was written by William Shakespeare and tells the story of the Montagues and the Capulets who are the two leading families in Verona. For years they have been enemies in a bitter feud. Their teenage children, Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet meet by accident at a grand party and fall instantaneously in love with each other. They marry in secret, but they cannot escape the consequences of their families' savage and disruptive quarrel. Tybalt of the Capulets then kills Romeo's best friend Mercutio. In vengeance, Romeo kills Tybalt, and is exiled from Verona. Friar Lawrence devises precarious plans to assist Romeo and Juliet to live together in happiness, but his schemes go horribly wrong. Romeo, believing Juliet to be dead, kills himself to join her in death. Juliet, then finding Romeo dead, also kills herself, not wishing to continue life without him. Their deaths end the quarrels of the Montagues and the Capulets. Shakespeare started writing tragedies because he thought the tragic plots used by other English writers were lacking imaginative purpose and structure. He used the fall of a notable person as the main focus in his tragedies. Suspense and climax were an added attraction for the audience. His work was extraordinary in that it was not of the standard for the time. A reader with even a little knowledge of his work would recognize one of the tragedies as a work of William Shakespeare. The four most famous Shakespeare tragedies are King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth. In Shakespeare's tragedies, one element is consistent- the tragic hero. Each tragic hero shares certain traits that contribute to his tragedy. From Othello to Macbeth, each hero is a man of high estate or high ranking. ...read more.

Middle

This premonition adds to the atmosphere of the story and gives the play suspense, because the audience are aware that he could die but don't know yet if he will. This is linked to the prologue because it is here in the first couple of lines that we are aware of the ancient grudge "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny", and that the death of two characters will end the clash between the two families. "Doth with their death bury their parents' strife." Later on in Act 1 Scene 5 Juliet says the line, "My grave is like to be my wedding bed." This is Juliet having a premonition that if she marries Romeo it will be the end of her life. She may have had this intuition because she is a Capulet and Romeo is a Montague, which may make her feel that falling in love with her family enemy is sure to lead to something horrific happening, as she knows that the two families loathe each other and are always looking for a reason to quarrel. In Act 3 Scene 5 Juliet has another premonition that Romeo and she will both die. She says, "O God, I have an ill-divinging soul! Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low, As one dead in the bottom of the tomb. (Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 54-56) This shows that she is again thinking that her love for Romeo will lead her death as well as his. She may feel that an evil encounter or depraved force is going to take place and destroy her and the love between them. By now the audience has a good idea that the play is going to have a tragic ending. The main character, Romeo has fitted in the traditional role of the tragic hero and they have both had premonitions of death. The audience are also aware that Romeo and Juliet have been warned by other characters that their love is too great and is sure to end in the death of them both. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Act 2, Scene 6, Lines 9 - 15) The words spoken above by Friar Lawrence at the closing stages of Act 2 Scene 6 are used to warn Romeo that his love for Juliet is too great and that it will lead to tragedy. He advises Romeo to love her less as he thinks moderation in love is better than violent excess. These words hint that a tragic ending may be in store because they show that Romeos love for Juliet is beginning to become dangerous and is on the verge of leading to their death. The tragic ending could also have been down to the characters youthful hasty temperaments and the way they act without thinking as they are blinded by their love for each other. Another reason for their deaths could have been the recurring hostile theme of violence and feuding between the Montagues and the Capulets. This is seen in Act 1, Scene 1, as the two families struggle for power in Verona, their 'ancient grudge' breaks 'to new mutiny' which causes Romeo and the other young men to turn to violence due to a stiff-necked code of honour. This presence of violence could have also contributed to the fatal ending of Romeo and Juliet. Overall I believe that the only possible ending to "Romeo and Juliet" had to be a tragic one as it followed the sequence of all of Shakespeare's other tragedies and the audience discovered this very early on in the play. Shakespeare was always hinting that a tragic ending was in store by revealing the premonitions of Romeo and Juliet and the advice from the other characters in the play. Throughout the play Shakespeare used many linguistic devices to create atmosphere and hint to the audience that it will end in tragedy. He also gave the audience lots of different reasons for the tragic ending, which implied that it would have a fatal conclusion. It could have been down to fate, adolescent passion, the feud between the two families, love itself, or even just bad luck. ...read more.

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