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Explore the Causes of the Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare.

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Introduction

Explore the Causes of the Tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet is a play about two lovers who are caught up in their family's feud. Because they were so madly in love with each other, they had to take risks to keep their relationship together, which led to their death. However, the prologue tells us that Romeo and Juliet were '... star-cross'd lovers...' which suggests that Shakespeare's intention was that fate was to blame for their deaths. Other reasons for the tragedy is haste, contributions of the main characters, especially Romeo and the Friar and because the play is heavy to read and there is a sense of doom in the language Shakespeare uses. A number of events throughout the play fit in with the theme of fate. Events that seem un-important to the characters are important to leading to the final tragedy in the play. For example, in act 1 scene 2 a servant who was told to go and invite the guests to the Capulet's party stopped to ask Romeo to read the names on the list for him. This is a moment of dramatic irony as the audience will know that this event will lead to Romeo meeting Juliet for the first time but he does not. ...read more.

Middle

The whole play is filled with haste. It only lasts for five days, from Sunday to Wednesday. Shakespeare's intention was to not give the characters or audience anytime for thought or to reflect on the events. Right from the start, on the hustle and bustle in the streets of Verona, the play starts on a rushed note with a fight scene. There is no plot setting or an introduction to the characters, but the whole play is just action and every event can be seen as a cause of the tragedy. It seems that the lovers are caught up in the events and that there is no way out and because there is no sub-plot in the play all the attention is on the lovers. This adds to the audience's tension as they know the tragedy is inevitable. As the plot moves so quickly, then mistakes are made. The message vital to the Friars plan fails to reach Romeo. Juliet wakes from the potion too late to save the lovers lives. I believe the person who is mainly to blame for the tragedy is the Friar. He has a very close relationship with Romeo and he is aware of his families' feud. His actions in the play have dramatic effects in deciding the final outcome. ...read more.

Conclusion

He used the word pale to describe getting old and lead is heavy. This is what provides the contrast between the two words. For example, Romeo sees Juliet as the light in the darkness of the feud: 'A rich jewel in an ethiops ear' (Act 1, scene 5) Shakespeare uses similes such as 'pale as lead' (act 2, scene 5) and metaphors such as: 'Where on a sudden one hath wounded me, That's by me wounded;' (act 2, scene 3) He also uses personification such as: 'Now old desire does in his deathbed lie, And young affection gapes to be his heir' (Act 2, prologue) All these examples of language techniques used makes the play feel heavy when read. This adds to the tension the audience feel as they know that the tragedy is inevitable. This doom could be because of the time the play is set. It is set in a time when the whole country is anxious. This is because Queen Elizabeth was ill and there was no heir to the throne. This could be why Shakespeare decided to set a play where the audience know that the tragedy is just round the corner. To conclude, I do not believe any particular person or theme was to blame, although the Friar made the largest contribution to the tragedy. The tragedy was down to a number of wrong decisions made by the main characters, and by coincidences. Social conventions, haste and fate all contribute to the tragedy. Alex gardner Page 1 5/7/2007 ...read more.

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