• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Main themes explored in "Romeo and Juliet"

Extracts from this document...


Main themes explored in "Romeo and Juliet" By: Clarisse Co Shakespeare uses a set of themes to present his ideas in the play "Romeo and Juliet". The theme of fate plays a major role in the play. The "star- crossed lovers" (I.Proluge.6) are impelled unstoppably through a sequence of events and they are caught up in a train of circumstances, beyond their power to control. Among these are the conflicts and struggles that they face against public and social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. These range from families and the placement of familial power in the father; law and the desire for public order; religion to the social importance placed on masculine honour. There are three forms of fate examined in "Romeo and Juliet." One of them which is fate created within the text can be seen from the very beginning of the play- the prologue, which takes the form of a sonnet a characteristic form of love poetry. The chorus, a single figure with no character or personality whose function is to explain the situation tells the audiences about the city of Verona being divided by the civil war between the two noble families. Their quarrel is an old one, an "ancient grudge" (line 2). ...read more.


Peter who is illiterate seeks help in reading the names and Romeo is there to do just that. Mercutio's death in Romeo's arms with the haunting curse "a plague o' both your houses"(III.1.106) a curse soon to be carried out which effectively puts an end to the Friar's plan to reunite simply the warring families again reinforces the idea of fate created through action or event. Lastly is the horrible series of accidents which ruin Friar Lawrence's seemingly well- intentioned plans, including the failure of Friar John to deliver the letter to Romeo (Act 5: Scene 2). All of these ill-fated events lead to the lovers' untimely end. Love is an overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties and emotions. In the course of the play, the young lovers are driven to defy their entire social world. Romeo abandons his friends Mercutio and Benvolio after the masked ball in order to go to Juliet's garden. The couples' love turn out to be even more profound and real as young Juliet swears "Deny thy father and refuse thy name or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love/And I'll no longer be a Capulet" (II.2.34). However instead of initiating optimistic results such as happiness and prosperity in the contrary it leads to negative proceedings such as conflict and death in the families and society. ...read more.


To promote social order in chaotic Verona the Prince an allegorical figure of authority and law and order has warned to kill anyone who starts another conflict. The Patriarchal power structure reigns over the families. Wives, sons and daughters all have to submit to the father's authority. They have no say but are forced to obey his orders. If they don't do so they are threatened or even punished as in Juliet's case for instance. Her father has arranged her marriage with the noble gentleman Paris whom she refuses to marry and therefore receives harsh chastise and threats. "Fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next, to go with Paris to saint Peter's Church or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither" (III.5.153) he threatens Juliet in addition to calling her rude names. Christianity at its peak, people are raised in a Christian background practicing its traditions and beliefs. Children are baptized as soon as they are born, marriages are performed and funerals conducted by the licensed clergy in accordance with the Church's rites and ceremonies and regular attendance to divine service is compulsory. Romeo and Juliet however are an exceptional. Their romance replaces their religious standings that they attempt suicide so that they can die in each other's arms. In summary love, fate and society are the three major themes explored in the literary work of "Romeo and Juliet" and they contribute greatly in its linguistic and literarily features. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Explain How the Theme of Conflict is Explored in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'

    It indicates that both families are angry. Tybalt's approach to the Montagues could be interpreted as either in a good manner or bad. He calls Mercutio and the Montagues "gentlemen" and this may either be Tybalt trying to be friendly or him being sarcastically patronising. In my opinion, I think that at this point, Tybalt is trying

  2. How the theme of conflict is explored in 'Romeo and Juliet'

    This tactic is used to create a bit of tension when a character does something and the audience will know what evil is about to concur. In the line 'A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life', Shakespeare informs his audience that the death of these young lovers was just misfortune.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work