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How does Shakespeare introduce themes that are not only relevant in his own day, but also in our own? Say what these are, and how we learn of them in the early part of the play.

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Introduction

ROMEO AND JULIET Rhys Buckley 10F How does Shakespeare introduce themes that are not only relevant in his own day, but also in our own? Say what these are, and how we learn of them in the early part of the play. I have been studying Romeo and Juliet in class and I have watched a production on television. Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet for an audience used to sixteenth century stage conventions, we must appreciate that these conventions are very different from our own. The Elizabethan theatre was very distinctive, when a play was performed thousands of people would pack inside the theatre, the rich would be able to pay for seats in the stand sheltered from the wind and rain, while the poor had to stand and brave the elements as the theatre had no roof. One advantage of standing was that you would have been very near the stage and almost feel as if you were part of the performance. The original theatre was made out of wood and eventually it was destroyed by fire, nowadays a replica of the theatre has been built and it is the only wooden building in London, it is called The Globe. In Elizabethan days the words were as important as the acting and many people went to listen rather than watch plays. ...read more.

Middle

It is as obvious that violence was as much a problem in Elizabethan days as it is today. Weapons on the street in Shakespeare's time were not guns as nowadays but swords and daggers. Many young men lost their lives, as even the smallest argument would result in a duel and death or serious injury. We are made aware of violence in Act One when Sampson and an other Capulet worker are talking very aggressively about the Montagues, " A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's." Sampson and Gregory enter a simple argument with the Capulet men and it ends with Sampson saying, " Draw if you be men, Gregory, remember thy washing blow." And they have to be parted by Benvolio. Like today weapons cause problems, at Christmas two friends were shot dead when the party they were at irrupted into fighting as they ran for cover they were caught in the fire and died. They were innocent bystanders and in The Prince's speech he confirms that this was the same in Shakespeare's time. " Rebellious subjects enemies to peace, Profaners of this neighbour-stained steel, Will they not hear?" Shakespeare brings gangs and feuds into the play in The Prologue and we are as concerned with this today as he was then. ...read more.

Conclusion

To keep interest in the play Shakespeare created several strong characters, one of these is Tybalt, he is one of the Capulet household. Tybalt is involved in two of the themes 'feuds between gangs' and ' weapons on the streets'. When he kills Mercutio he shows no mercy or sadness at what he has done, "this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me". This shows how evil he is and demonstrates how the use of weapons on the street makes even a simple argument dangerous. The other characters respect him and he makes people turn and look when he walks down the street. These themes and characters are responsible for the way in which Romeo and Juliet is still as famous today as it was then. The exotic setting,Verona, adds to the glamour and modern films try to copy this in their settings. I will remember the violence and street fights and hope that they do not become as common now as they were in Shakespeare's time. Shakespeare's plays are timeless, with the themes he used being relevant themes of modern times. Love, violence, feuds between families or religions all these are as common now as they were in the Sixteenth Century. We should all enjoy the play for what it is, as we enjoy other types of film or play such as Science Fiction or Horror. ...read more.

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