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How conflict contributes to the tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet

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Discuss how the varied conflicts within the play Romeo and Juliet contribute to the tragic outcome in the relationship of Romeo and Juliet. Specific references to the play script should be apparent in your essay. The drama of Romeo and Juliet is a tragic 'love story' themed play by William Shakespeare. Set in Verona, Italy, during the Renaissance, the story traces the self destructive path of two 'star crossed' young lovers, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. The themes running through the play address the issues associated with the consequences of immature blind passion, hatred, fate and prejudice. Romeo and Juliet are young teenagers who fall deeply in love but whose families are bitter enemies. Yet, regardless of the feud between their families, they marry in secret. Despite making every effort to conceal their actions, the story ends in tragedy with Romeo and Juliet killing themselves and ironically, the feuding families reconciling. The love of hero and heroine is set in an underlying context of hate and it is through this vein that we see various conflicts arise. We see conflicts examined through the family feud; the personal conflicts between the characters of Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo; the generational conflicts between Juliet and her parents and societal conflicts. Whilst these conflicts highlight the tenderness and warmth which Romeo and Juliet feel for each other, it's by their very divisive nature that we see the ever present reality of death engulf the lovers. ...read more.


The play reaches a dramatic crescendo as Romeo and Juliet's private world clashes with the public feud with tragic consequences. By killing off Romeo's best friend and Juliet's cousin, Shakespeare adds tension to whether or not the relationship between the lovers will part. Romeo's refusal to fight against Tybalt brings about the very acceleration of violence he previously had sought to prevent and he becomes ensnared in the family conflict after all. Shakespeare has constructed Mercutio's death in such a way that is serves as a catalyst for the tragic turn the play takes from this point onwards. The killings all contribute to the sense of inevitability; that a chain of events has been set in motion, over which the protagonists have no control. Another critical conflict is that between Juliet and her parents in Act III Scene V over the marriage with Paris. In some respects, the arranged marriage is to further the social status of the Capulet's family name. Lord Capulet will not tolerate any opposition to the arranged marriage and meets his daughter's refusal with violence and hurls insults at her, whilst Lady Capulet simply cuts her daughter off. "Lady Capulet ... I have done with thee." (A3 S5 203 - 204) Juliet withdraws from the conflict and takes her own way out, by drinking the potion and in fact, can be seen to win. ...read more.


Romeo cannot cease being a Montague, simply because he wants to as the rest of the world will not allow him. The lovers' suicide in some respects represents the ultimate privacy. Shakespeare has, to a certain extent, used conflict to construct the tragic outcome of Romeo and Juliet by preventing the lovers from having the unity of marriage they wish, in the society in which they live. Their only alternative, eventually, is unity in death. It is equally evident that the feud, by creating the circumstances in which Romeo was faced with the choice of killing Tybalt, led to this event. After all, Romeo was a child of the feud, brought up to believe that his honour depended on taking revenge. In the end however, he killed Tybalt and in doing so, brought the conflict into his own life and into Juliet's and thus, set the tragedy on its course. NOTES: Teacher noted to NOT list in the introduction especially where I have listed the themes; "...hatred,fate and prejudice." and where I talk about the conflicts that are examined "..through the family feud; the personal conflicts b/n the characters of Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo......". Also in the first body paragraph, after the "leads to the tragic death of the lovers..", teacher noted that I was "dealing with other issues" and to stick to conflict, as asked in the question. Also, after topic sentence of each body para, teacher noted that I should give more textual context before providing evidence. ...read more.

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  1. To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero?

    The prologue tells you that the play will end with death "a pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives". You also find out that the two families have been feuding for so many years, "from ancient grudge break new mutiny" that the love between the children of these families will find it hard to survive and it will end badly.

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