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Discuss How Shakespeare Introduces The Major Themes of The Play in The Prologue and Act 1 Scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet".

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Discuss How Shakespeare Introduces The Major Themes of The Play in The Prologue and Act 1 Scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet" The sixteenth century play "Romeo and Juliet", written by William Shakespeare was based on a poem by Arthur Brooke, "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet". Shakespeare modified and developed the poem into the well known play it is today. One of the main changes is that the play took place over five days whereas the poem, more realisticaly, took place over two months. This increased the dramatic nature and made the story more tragic. Another difference Shakespeare made is that his play consisted of only speech and stage directions, through which he has to add a large ammount of detailed description but a poem is naturaly more descriptive. Romeo and Juliet is a well known play and it is common knowledge that, even to those who havn't seen it, it is a tradgic love story in which there are lots of conflicts between the two families. There are conflicting or opposing emotions, for example; love versus hate, life and death and fate against free will. These themes are introduced at varius points through out the play. One of which (love versus hate) is introduced at the beginning of the first scene when Benvolio and Tybalt are together before a fight breaks out. Benvolio who symbolised peace and love, is trying to convince Tybalt, he symbolises hate and anger, that the fighting is wrong and it should be left to be dealt with by the two Lords, Old Capulet and Old Montague. ...read more.


The two men are discussing work. Shakespeare adds comedy to the conversation by using 'puns'. By doing so the topics of discussion quickly change and soon they are talking about the feuding between the Capulet and the Montague households. Even though the two men are talking about violence they are still joking and playing with words. This shows that they do not take the fighting seriously as it has become a part of their everyday lives. Of course, when Tybalt, a figure of violence and hatered appears the other characters become fearful and fail to find the situation humorous. In the servents' conversation Shakespeare makes referances to rape and murder. Again, this shows it is a common feature of everyday life. "Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men I will be civil with the maids; I will cut off their heads' 'The heads of the maids?' 'Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt" Here Sampson is telling Gregory that the fighting is not just between their masters it involves the whole of the Capulet household, including them. He says that he will kill all the Montague men and cut off the heads of their women. He then plays with the words and says that he will rape them. Tybalt and Benvolio show one of the main themes of the play, Love and Hate. ...read more.


Benvolio asks why Romeo is sad, his answers are clumsy and confusing. "What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?' 'Not having that which having makes them short." His answer shows he is confused about his own feelings. What he is trying to say is that he is sad because Roseline, the mystery woman, doesn't returnt his affection. His love for Roseline is of course not real, however he is infatuated with her, he believes that his is in love with her. When Romeo sees that another fight has happened he is not surprised. His next few lines are full of oxymorons and juxtaposition which highlight the point being made, that the fightings is pointless, but also his feelings of confusion. From lines 166-171 he makes a short speech, to begin with it is about the feuding but it gradualy moves back to his so called love for Roseline. One of the first oxymorons used is "loving hate" when Romeo says the fighting has a lot to do with hate but more to do with love, possibly a love of fighting. Through this single quotation we understand why Romeo is confused. He is sad because his 'love' is unrequited. Love is all about happiness and joy but Romeo feels none of this, so naturaly he knows it isn't right. However Romeos pain shows that with the joys nd pleasures of love come pain and sadness. We see that pleasure and pain are linked with love and hate. Coursework Jessica Logan 10F ...read more.

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