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Explain How the Theme of Conflict is Explored in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'

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Introduction

Explain How the Theme of Conflict is Explored in "Romeo and Juliet" "Romeo and Juliet" was written in Elizabeth times by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a world famous playwright whose work is studied in many countries. His play "Romeo and Juliet" was written around 1595/1596 and was probably Shakespeare's tenth play. It is amongst his most well known plays and it has been acted out many times and adapted into films. In Elizabethan times, when this play was written and acted, people lived in very poor conditions. Theatres were very popular with the common people and it was a great day out for them. The first theatre, built in 1576, was simply called "The Theatre". Soon after, many other theatres were built along the River Thames in Shoreditch. Shakespeare's theatre was called "The Globe" and was built in 1599. This was where all of his plays were performed and is one of the most famous Elizabethan theatres. There were two types of theatre, public and private. Public theatres were larger and seated more people, this made them cheaper. Therefore, the private theatres were used more by the higher class people as they could afford it. Theatre performances were held in the afternoon as there was no artificial lighting. Women were a very minor part in Elizabethan society but were allowed to attend theatre performances. However, no women acted in the plays so female roles were acted out by young boys. The males in Elizabethan society were always more dominant. "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy but is sometimes mistaken for a romance. There are many themes that run through "Romeo and Juliet" which include: love, violence, death and hatred but a main theme is conflict. There are many cases of conflict in the play, which at times, overlap and intertwine together to make the tale interesting and more complex. The theme of conflict is also used to create a sense of tension between all the characters. ...read more.

Middle

Meanwhile, Juliet is at home thinking of Romeo; while she is full of hope and happiness, Romeo is sad and full of doom. Although Juliet does not know what has just happened, from Romeo's point of view, their relationship is changing as it becomes more tense and realistic. This middle section of the play keeps contrasting itself in each scene. Act 2, Scene 6 is all love and marriage, whereas the next scene and act, the theme turns to battle and anger, then it turns to death with despair. Into the next scene, and it is full of love and hope. Then, it turns to gloom as Romeo finds that he has been banished from Verona. In Act 3, Scene 3, Romeo is told by Friar Lawrence that he has been exiled to Mantua outside the Verona walls. Romeo feels that he would rather be executed than banished. He states: "There is no world without Verona walls, ...Hence banished is banish'd from the world, And world exile is death; then 'banished' Is death mis-term'd" The Prince believes that he is doing Romeo a favour by banishing him and not executing him. However Romeo feels that there is no world for him outside of Verona and he might as well be dead. For out of Verona, he cannot see Juliet and that is no life so he would prefer to be dead. It seems as if fate is not only playing with him but also enjoying it and laughing at him. "...calling death 'banished,' Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe, And smiled upon the stroke that murders me." Shakespeare has used an effective example of figurative language here, as they are not literally cutting of his head. This quote is said in sadness and despair but Romeo mentions the word 'smiled' maybe meaning that there is some hope in the distance. In Act 3, Scene 5 there is a lot of conflict between Juliet and her parents. ...read more.

Conclusion

The other marriage, to Romeo, was for love. Both forms of marriage are still used today and can often conflict with each other. In the Western society of today, marriages through love are more popular, whereas in the Eastern countries, arranged marriages are more frequent. In modern times, this conflict is often seen in the British Asian community where parents were brought up to believe in arranged marriage and their children, brought up in a western lifestyle, consider marriage for love more appropriate. The play shows that not everything turns out good; this way, it is realistic and relevant in modern society as well as Elizabethan society. Shakespeare shows this point by the themes of fate, conflict and death. This play is a tragedy, not a romance and therefore the overall effect is sorrow. In today's society, films let us use our imagination and we are surrounded by movies that end up the way that we would like them to. This way film maker's have happy audiences and therefore, make more money. However, this tale does not end the way that we would like it to and it makes a good change and shows us some reality. "Romeo and Juliet" is also relevant to the contemporary audience as Baz Luhrmann made a very popular movie adaptation of this tale in 1996. This brought the story back into modern times as many people have seen his interpretation and it is very well-liked. The theme of conflict is one of the most important factors in "Romeo and Juliet" as it adds tension, action and feeling to the play. The audience can be drawn in by the battles and, if watching the performance, they can feel like they are a part of it all. In a way, the theme of conflict can overpower the theme of love. I think this because conflict was the reason that Romeo and Juliet killed themselves and therefore, the conflict in the play was a lot stronger than the love. Although, "Romeo and Juliet" could also show that love overpowers everything else as they killed themselves for their love. ...read more.

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