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How Does Shakespeare Express Conflict in Romeo and Juliet?

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06/07/2003 How Does Shakespeare Express Conflict in Romeo and Juliet? This play is full of reference to civil disobedience, the disturbance or natural order and the tendency of the characters to resort to physical violence. I will be looking at the different sorts of conflict Shakespeare uses in this play. Right from the start Shakespeare lets us know there will be conflict throughout the play as in the prologue it says "from ancient grudge breaks to new mutiny." And "where civil blood makes civil hands unclean" This lets us know that there will was a past grudge and in this play the grudge will be re-ignited and it also suggests there will be fighting throughout the play. The prologue gives us an understanding of the depression that will be used in the play but as we read into the first scene we can see that Shakespeare uses wordplay that would be amusing to the audience of that time. "The heads of maids or their maiden heads." ...read more.


Romeo tells this to Mercutio but again they have an exchange of views where Mercutio tells Romeo that dreamers often lie, in the famous "Queen Mab" speech. Romeo says "I dream'd a dream to-night" then Mercutio tells us about queen mab in the long speech and Romeo replies by saying that "By some vile forfeit of untimely death" this again shows us inner conflict in Romeos mind. He doesn't know whether to go to the party or not because of the dream. In the end Mercutio persuades him to go with the speech that settles his mind. The next major scene with friction is in act 3 scene 1 where Mercutio is killed by Tybalt and Tybalt is killed by Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio are in the public square. Benvolio tries to persuade Mercutio to leave as the Capulets are around and he fears they would not be able to escape a fight should they meet. "I pray thee, good Mercutio, lets retire: The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, and if we meet, we shall not escape a brawl;" Tybalt and other Capulets enter and Tybalt confronts the Montague crowd. ...read more.


The prince chooses to banish Romeo from Verona with death at the punishment of his returning. We can see that through every possible angle Shakespeare has covered the theme of conflict. We see it in the way the characters interact with each other. We also see opposition in just one person, inner conflict in the decisions Romeo has to make and also those of Juliet. Shakespeare also uses the small themes of antagonism, whereby the servants of each house have minor scuffles just because of the fact they don't like the name of the other house but really they don't understand the depth of the ancient grudge and are being laddish. After the minor scuffles the grudge gets re-ignited and we see large-scale conflict between Romeo and Tybalt where ultimately two people die. Shakespeare successfully explores the theme of conflict by going through the minors so the grudge is back in the air, the to the inner conflicts where decisions where made because of love and he ends the conflict with a major fight that ends in the death of Mercutio and Tybalt. ...read more.

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