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Is violence and conflict central to Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

Is violence and conflict central to Romeo and Juliet? Although Romeo and Juliet is famous for being a love story, violence and conflict also plays a very important part adding interest and making the characters foreshadow what is to come. This is indicated in the Prologue where we find such words as 'mutiny', 'grudge', 'foes', and 'death marked rage'. The Prologue states that the death of the 'star crossed lovers' (line 6) is the only way their 'parents rage' (line 10) will end. The knowledge of their certain deaths adds sadness to our view of events. The Prologue takes the form of a sonnet, a characteristic form of love poetry, ironic in view of the violence to come. The three scenes containing the main forms of violence are Act 1 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene 5. The violence and conflict within these scenes takes on different forms such as petty squabbling, serious physical violence with fatal consequences and mental and verbal abuse. In Act 1 Scene 1 the main dispute between the Capulets and the Montague's is due to the family feud. The servants from each family taunt and provoke each other which ends up in a row. ...read more.

Middle

When Tybalt returns, Romeo feels that he must fight Tybalt to avenge the death of his friend Mercutio and to prove that his love for Juliet has not softened him. Both things give his fighting a power that is enough to beat Tybalt, yet even as Tybalt dies he realises the consequences of his actions, 'I am fortunes fool' (line 136) he immediately declares. Although we know that he and Juliet are fated to die, we still hope against hope that the workings of fate may be thwarted. Time and time again we are disappointed. Here is one of those occasions; just as everything is going so well, Romeo is caught up against his will in a series of events that shatter the happiness. Benvolio's truthful account of the fight is seen as biased by the Capulets but it causes the Prince to retreat from his previously hard line on the punishment for 'civil brawls' (Act 1 Scene 1, line 87). The sentence of banishment on Romeo leaves open the possibility of a happy ending. In an attempt to achieve balance the Prince terms both Mercutio and Tybalt 'stout' (lines 169-173). The Prince has had enough bloodshed, so does not condemn Romeo to death, though he does view banishment as a severe penalty, he points out that 'Mercy but murders' (line 197) ...read more.

Conclusion

His motives were to reunite the families, help his friend, preserve the marriage and to portray his actions in a favourable light. Romeo and Juliet trusted him to do all of these things because he has a sense of superiority. The Friar looks for the regard and respect of others, he is afraid of his shortcomings being exposed in the event of failure, but it could be argued that he is acting out the purest of motives- he genuinely wishes to bring an end to the families discord; his plans are na�ve since he is quite an unworldly man. He is the unwitting instrument for the will of God. The Friar is responsible for setting in motion a series of actions which lead to the couple's marriage. The arrangements for their later reunion, supplying the poison and failing to save Juliet from herself. His motives are genuine and misguided. Others contributed to the tragedy to a greater or lesser degree. The events are however, fated to happen and in that sense the Friar is the innocent agent of fate. The whole play of Romeo and Juliet pivots around the consequences of the family feud and in my opinion is therefore central to this play. Harriet Clampitt 10A English essay - Mrs Crafts. ...read more.

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