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Compare and Contrast two scenes in Romeo and Juliet which explore key themes in the play

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast any two scenes in Romeo & Juliet which explore key themes of the play In this essay I will be comparing two scenes within the play that convey similar and contrasting themes. The themes I have chosen to contrast are love, hatred, loyalty, time and fate. I will also look at how Shakespeare uses these themes to characterise the protagonists and antagonists, moving it towards its tragic denouement. The scenes I have chosen are Act 2 Scene 2, the famous balcony scene, in which Romeo and Juliet fall deep into blinding love and agree to marry; and Act 3 Scene 1, in which a terrible fight breaks out between Tybalt and the Montagues, resulting in Tybalt and Mercutio's deaths, and Romeo's exile. I have chosen these scenes because they show such contrast that it is hard to believe that they are in the same play. They also uses a wide range of themes that are used in very different ways within the two scenes, as well as this, the scenes are two of the most romantic and exciting of the entire play. ...read more.

Middle

The anger shown in this scene is portrayed through Tybalt and Mercutio's constant taunting of each other. This creates dramatic irony as neither Mercutio nor Tybalt know of Romeo's wedding to Juliet. Mercutio calls Tybalt a "rat-catcher" and "King of the Cats", in a very intimidating and demeaning way. This is a definite contrast to the balcony scene which rejects the families' hatred of each other based merely on their names. The role of Mercutio in this scene shows the extent of the enmity for Mercutio belongs to neither house yet is caught up in the fighting between them, showing that the hatred is beyond just the families. Loyalty is one of the central themes for both scenes; however, the way in which the characters express their loyalty is very different. In 3.1, the "ancient grudge" brings together the various alliances. The Capulet Tybalt feels passionate towards his family, referring to Romeo as "boy", a very degrading and insulting form of address. Mercutio too, despite being neither Montague nor Capulet sides with Romeo and is dismayed by Romeo's "cowardice", exclaiming disbelievingly, "O calm, dishonourable, vile submission". ...read more.

Conclusion

This personification of fortune as a being rather than a "force" adds to the shock of the scene. It shows Romeo's frank description of himself and of his position and the theme of fate and hatred are used to move Romeo's quite backward character to the present. Fate leads Romeo into exile, where he can no longer see Juliet, and in an attempt to, leads to his death. The fate described in 2.2 is far less morbid and fearful as it is in 3.1 onwards. However, its optimism proves to be short-lived as the tragedy engulfs the play's action In conclusion, Shakespeare's use of many contrasting and similar themes within the play brings out the great tragedy in Romeo and Juliet which makes it one of the most famous plays in English literature. Shakespeare conveys these varied themes through the characters' speeches and body language and actions. They dominate the play, and are present within every scene, though especially in the ones I have discussed in this essay. Shakespeare shows that no matter how different the scenes are, they are all linked by the themes that ere expressed within them. For it is not one, but all the themes combined that lead to the tragic deaths of both Romeo and Juliet and the woeful ending to the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Simon Lock ...read more.

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