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EVALUATE HOW SHAKESPEARE USES VIOLENCE AND DEATH IN ROMEO AND JULIET

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Introduction

EVALUATE HOW SHAKESPEARE USES VIOLENCE AND DEATH IN ROMEO AND JULIET The prologue sets the audiences expectations of violence very highly; a strong quotation to illustrate this, 'from ancient grudge to ancient mutiny' meaning an old rage will become new rage again. The word 'mutiny' means riot, so violence has got to be involved just from that, right? The section 'doth with their death bury their parents strife, the fearful passage of their death- marked love, and the continuance of their parents' rage, which but their children's end nought could remove', exhibits that Romeo and Juliet's love is marked with death, and the continuance of their love would make their parents' angry - nothing but Romeo and Juliet's death could stop the feud. Consequently from the prologue we can clearly see that the audience's expectations of violence would unambiguously be high - it also generates the reader's very first expectations of the play almost immediately as the reader has begun to read the play. Another clever technique used by Shakespeare because there would be a lot of time in the play to twist and turn things before leading to the culmination - death. After the prologue we are left in a sense of insecurity and curiosity, it sets the tone and whets the reader's appetite for the rest of the play as well as the oncoming action, which engages the viewer. Of course they would most definitely want to read on as the plot uncovers. Prejudice leads to escalating violence, as the prejudice between the Capulet's and Montague's led to increasing violence. It build's tension and eventually leads to someone's death. A clever technique, but it's not all that simple because there were twists and turns, and a huge amount of unpredictability that was ever-present to whet our appetite before a character's death. Shakespeare has included violence and death in his play to encompass a contrasting genre to love and romance. ...read more.

Middle

Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice when Romeo first exclaims at Juliet's beauty. Capulet, acting cautiously, stops Tybalt from taking immediate action. This shows us that Capulet is not a violent person from the quote 'content thee, gentle coz, let him alone' However the violence escalates and Tybalt's rage is set, creating the circumstances that will eventually banish Romeo from Verona. He says 'To strike him dead I hold it not a sin', and 'I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming to bitterest gall.' He's saying that if he kills Romeo he doesn't see it as a sin, also calling him an intrusion. This clearly justifies that Tybalt is a violent person; his vivid language reflects his harsh and inconsiderate personality. The meeting between Romeo and Juliet laid the seeds of their tragedy and the violence continued. So from this scene we can see the contrast between the romantic and violent atmospheres, Shakespeare made us subconsciously think that everything would be fine with Romeo and Juliet, but dramatically brought Tybalt in to alter this. In act 2 scene 3 we are introduced to Friar Lawrence as he meditates on the duality of good and evil that exists in all things. Speaking of medicinal plants, the friar claims that, though everything in nature has a useful purpose, it can also lead to misfortune if used improperly: 'For naught so vile that on the earth doth live, But to the earth some special good doth give, Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use, Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse: Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied; And vice sometime's by action dignified'. At the end of this passage, the friar's rumination turns toward a broader application; he speaks of how good may be perverted to evil and evil may be purified by good. The friar tries to put his theories to use when he agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet; he hopes that the good of their love will reverse the evil of the hatred between the feuding families. ...read more.

Conclusion

The themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. The connection between hate, violence, and death seems obvious - hate led to violence, which led to death. Without the unfairness, omnipresence, and power that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet's violence incorporates, the play itself may had not as turned out so effective. Imagine if diplomatic measures were taken to try and cease the feud between rival families, and the fuel behind the characters' actions were just not as strong. However, the conflict's closure through the violent ends of Romeo and Juliet tie the play up well, in that it also shows that from all this violence it also serves as an image of hope and rebirth. Shakespeare strengthens the intensity and interest we take in viewing or reading the work, and helps to portray the themes and lessons to be derived from doing so. If the action of the play had not moved so quickly, the course of events in the play would have been likely to be different. What if Romeo had not killed Tybalt? The lovers could have then made their marriage public and possibly ended the feud without any more bloodshed. If the Friar Laurence's note had gotten to Romeo, he would have known of Juliet's plan to fake her own death. Also, if Romeo had waited to confirm Juliet's death instead of galloping off to the tomb, their lives would have been saved. Unfortunately, none of these events took place. Verona bares witness to the family feud, between the Capulet and the Montague families, which has been in existence for generations. In a matter of days, however, the feud finally ends. However it takes the deaths of five of the family members for Capulet and Montague to make their peace. I think that the only think that could have been better was the establishment of the characters, and Shakespeare not revealing so much about the play, as early as the prologue. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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