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An examination of the oppositions and contrasts in Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

Amy Willis Candidate Number: 0375 Centre Number: 01545 An examination of the oppositions and contrasts in Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet as an example of how both the emotions of love and hate can exist alongside and within two higher-class families at constant civil war with one another. This report will examine how this piece is told through the use of various contrasts, these are; love and hate, light and dark, language and reality, fortune and free will, public and private and finally death and life. Romeo and Juliet was written in fifteen ninety-five although there is speculation that the idea and format of this play may not have been genuinely created by Shakespeare, as believed, despite this play being by far his most famous piece of work. Despite Romeo and Juliet being set in 'Verona', a fictional city in Italy, the social background of this play is typically that of sixteenth century England. The first contrast to be examined is that of light and dark. This contrast can be found in the play during a dialogue between Romeo and Juliet in Act three, Scene five. In this scene, Romeo and Juliet are just awaking in her bedroom after their wedding night together. They are playfully arguing whether it is indeed still night or whether it is indeed day as Romeo thinks it is. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet agrees reluctantly to this fate until she meets and marries Romeo in secret. Juliet does love Paris but only out of a sense of duty and honour to her father. Juliet strongly loves all of her family yet despises them for the feud which ruins her one chance of marrying the man she truly loves, Romeo. Despite this love Juliet is willing to 'no longer be a Capulet' out of her determination to be with Romeo. Thus confirming she is willing to give up everything she knows and loves for this whirlwind romance and her soon to be husband Romeo. Juliet knows and understands how unsuitable this romance is but decides to continue with the relationship despite it being, 'Much to do with love, but more with hate.' Both Romeo and Juliet are in love with the one person in the world they would never be allowed to have. Another contrast to be examined is that of how language can be used to magnify something compared to the language it is describing. The first example of this is how the power of language is used is when Romeo is talking about Juliet. Romeo talks in a very complimentary way about Juliet although hardly being able to see her, as we are lead to believe that it is night. Shakespeare also uses language to show how words can create prejudice. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo also murders Benvolio, his cousin and friend who throughout the play was very good to him. This death is tragic because he is young, a loyal friend and risked his life and safety to get Romeo to the tomb. The final deaths of Romeo and Juliet are very tragic because they are both young and deeply in love. This scene is very harrowing because of how close they come to being reunited. However from their deaths peace was created between their parents. This bringing peace to many in Verona. The final contrast to be examined is that of public and private. All of the scenes between Romeo and Juliet especially their wedding night are very private. Most of their scenes are in Juliets room, the orchard or in the church where they were married. In contrast to this all the fighting scenes are conducted very publicly. Romeo was a part of the fighting until his marriage to Juliet, this making him a part of both sides of the feud. This Shakespeare play has taught myself and many of the time in which he lived. It is cleverly written with a good structure throughout. I would recommend this play. I also enjoyed the film Romeo and Juliet by Baz Lurhman as it combines the Old English language combined with a modern set, Verona Beach. I think this film will open the works of Shakespeare to a new audience who may not have access to his plays and other works. ...read more.

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