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Discuss how the theme of conflict is presented in ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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Introduction

Discuss how the theme of conflict is presented in 'Romeo and Juliet' The central theme of 'Romeo and Juliet' is conflict. William Shakespeare uses a variety of devices to demonstrate this conflict which is presented on many levels in many different ways including actions, words, characters of main players, contrast in the sexes and ages and juxtapositoning of scenes. In order to emphasise the conflict William Shakespeare uses many opposites: love and hate, life/marriage and death, fate/destiny and free will, age and youth, male and female and light and dark. The play opens with a prologue and this is where the conflict is first introduced and is evidently made clear to the audience that this will be a major theme throughout the rest of this play. The main form of conflict in "Romeo and Juliet" is the longstanding feud between the two families. "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny" this is the first reference to any form of conflict within this play. Also in the prologue the first use is made of conflicting opposites this being fate against free will. "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;" The quote shows that their deaths are predicted in the stars but through their own acts they take their lives. This follows quite soon after we first hear about the two conflicting families in order to carry on the theme and to emphasise the feud between them. ...read more.

Middle

"Out of her favour where I am in love" which shows the conflict of emotions between himself and Rosaline in which he loves her but his love is not returned. The greatest demonstration of the conflicting emotions is Act 1 scene V after the ball. Romeo discovers that the girl with whom he has just fallen in love with is a member of the house of his sworn enemies. "Is she a Capulet? / O dear account, my life is my foes debt." Juliet makes the same discovery and her words serve to emphasise the conflict of their love against their hate. "My only love sprung from my only hate." In order to show and emphasise these conflicts William Shakespeare uses a variety of devices. The most obvious one is visual; this is the actual physical fighting on stage between some of the players and their deaths. This is shown especially in Act 3 scene I when the most dramatic of the fight scenes takes place resulting in two deaths, one of each family. Another visual device William Shakespeare uses is the positioning of good and bad scenes and good and bad characters next to each other. This emphasises the conflict between the different moods and personalities through the device of juxtaposition. For example in Act1 scene I Tybalt and Benvolio are presented together and this accentuates their conflicting personalities. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that In Act 3 scene V Juliet did not want to marry the man of her parent's choice and she was not doing what they wanted her to do caused another scene of great conflict. Also again the historical context of the play introduces another area of opposition, this being male against female "And therefore women being the weaker / vessels." This demonstrates that The theme of conflict is the central theme in this play and if it were not for this theme this play would be a romance and would not have been a tragedy. It was only due to the feud between the two families that there was such a problem with the romance between Romeo and Juliet. They were of equal standing and if it were not for the conflicts their marriage would have been perfectly acceptable. William Shakespeare uses many devices, physical, emotional, imagery etc to make the conflict into a major part of this play, which turned it from being a romance, into a tragedy and led to the inevitable result of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. This play reflects Elizabethan society but this does not diminish its appeal because it is to some extent still occurring in some cultures around the world today. This gives this play an eternal appeal that will not die out. Jennifer Brown 10Z 28/04/07 Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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