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How is Romeo and Juliet an effective tragedy?

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Introduction

How is Romeo and Juliet an effective tragedy? Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. A tragedy could be defined as, "A play, film or television program, or other narrative work that portrays or decipts calamitous events and has an unhappy but meaningful ending" I think that this definition is true to the events that unfold in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's language during the play is spoken in verse (by the main characters), giving pace to the play, with clever use of language, the audience see changes in the actor's speech, speeding up and hightening the tension of the impending tragedy. The story of Romeo and Juliet is one of two rival families, who have fought for centuries, and of how two people from each family fall in love, and die. Five main characters die, the most in any Shakespeare play. The tragedy is apparent from the outset, the audience are aware of the tragedy looming on the main characters, with a clever prologue. Romeo and Juliet is the most famous romantic plays ever performed, and possibly one of, if not the most famous tragedy presented on the stage. To begin the play, the audience is presented with the prologue, which explains to the audience about the impending tragedy. From the offset of the play, the prologue, setting the scene also tells the audience of what events will follow, "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;" The narrator describes to the audience of how two children born in to warring families will fall in love, and it will end in death. ...read more.

Middle

It also shows him as a caring and helpful man, which will play a great effect towards the tragedy. Romeo turns to Friar Lawrence for advice, which, at the start of the play seems harmless, but in later scenes, the audience sees the danger in it. The Friar questions Romeo about Rosaline, "Wast thou with Rosaline?" but Romeo simply replies with, "I have forgot that name and that name's woe." This shows Romeo's personality of how 'the girl he couldn't live without' had changed so suddenly, and he asks the Friar to marry them, even though they have just met. This rush in to marriage is a tragedy in itself. Romeo asks,, "And all combined, save what thou must combine By holy marriage." He is saying that he and Juliet are like one person, or at least they will be when the Friar marries them. Friar Lawrence tries to warn Romeo of his rush in to marriage, but he respects his wishes and agrees to marry them. The Nurse encourages the marriage when she hears of it to both Romeo and Juliet, telling Romeo to care for Juliet, and pushing Juliet to marry Romeo and not Paris, this of course encourages a rushed marriage, and the fast marriage is a reason for the tragic events that take place. Act 3 sees the tragic events start to take place. Tybalt is looking to duel Romeo, and as the Prince said at the beginning of the play, another fight would end in banishment. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet" Showing he genuinely cared for and loved Juliet, adding to the final tragic moments. Romeo and Juliet are reunited. Romeo gives a monologue about Juliet and how he's going to be with her soon, yet if Romeo had not rushed in to this, or even thought about it for a few more minutes, he would have seen Juliet wake, this is the ultimate tragic event in the play. And with the poison, Romeo dies. Just mere minutes later... Juliet wakes. This shows the audience now that if Romeo had taken a moment to think, it wouldn't have ended like this. And, of course Romeo has also just missed the Friar, who meets Juliet as she wakes, she now takes the role of desperation, refusing to go with the friar, she proceeds to kill herself. Amongst the chaos, two warring families, fighting for generations see their two children, dead, in each other's arms. The death of five people, Mercutio, Tybalt, Paris, Romeo and Juliet, finally make them realise that the fighting is stupid. They simply make-up like friends after a fight, yet the tragedy is that it took the death of 5 people, two, their own children who were madly in love to make the feud that should've ended years ago, end now. The Friar and servants carry their statements, and the Montagues and Capulets put things right. The Prince at the end of the play tells the audience that this is the saddest thing you will see on stage. "For there never was a story more of woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." ...read more.

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