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Romeo and Juliet - Several characters contribute to the final tragedy - How does Shakespere present these characters and what other factors might the audience consider when evaluating the cause of the lovers' deaths?

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Introduction

'All are punished' Several characters contribute to the final tragedy. How does Shakespere present these characters and what other factors might the audience consider when evaluating the cause of the lovers' deaths? In my opinion I think that the audience are unable to allocate the blame to just one character or party for the deaths of the lovers. Instead, it is definitely necessary to distribute the blame amongst a number of individuals. The role of the individuals must not be the only thing considered, but also fate- Shakespere establishes from the onset that fate is a major contributor to certain events. Shakespere's audiences were more religious and superstitious than a modern audience and might have accepted this idea more. The patriarchal 17th century society of renaissance Italy influenced the way characters behaved; history also played a part like the ancient feud, which breaks 'from ancient grudge break to new mutiny.' This line reveals to us that the play concerns two rival noble families, the capulets and the montagues- the 2 families that have been enemies for centuries. Throughout the play shakespere uses hawk imagery to show the audience that the lovers recognised each other as dangerous choices as their families were enemies. Another factor that plays a part is the importance of family honour as this is why the romance between Romeo and Juliet had to be a secret, if the family honour was not so important the lovers' tragic death may not have happened. ...read more.

Middle

Friar does show us that his stated reason is his desire 'to turn your household's rancour to pure love.' Friar's political ambitiousness and keen attraction to status and praise is the reason why he wants to resolve the ancient feud. Friar tends to take a more authoritative role between himself and Nurse 'go before, Nurse. Commend me to thy lady.' We can distribute more blame on Friar as back in the 17th century the church had a great deal of authority allowing Friar Lawrence to marry the pair- this would not be accepted in today's society. Friar Lawrence can accept more responsibility for their deaths as he provided an escape route for Juliet- the potion. Act 4 scene 1 shows us that even friar thought the situation was difficult but it did not give him the right to give Juliet a 'desperate remedy.' He must have thought it through as he even wrote a letter to Romeo although he did not receive it. This is another problem, he really should have checked that Romeo received it- the pair would not have both committed suicides if Romeo knew about the plan before hand. Lord and Lady Capulet are the parents of Juliet; neither show no interest in their daughter's wishes and are more interested in keeping up their social position. This could be one of the reasons why the fatal incident happened. In the 17th century noble families paid a wet nurse to care for the child right from birth, this may be another reason why the relationship between Juliet and Lady Capulet lacked closeness and was so formal- this caused problems for Juliet concerning Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the play the characters are represented as easily provoked to violence or self-harm. In terms of literary tradition Romeo and Juliet is very notable as it is probably the most common of shakespere's plays. Whenever the media identifies lovers from rival sects, gangs or nationalities, particularly if young and keen to beat the odds, their story is told in terms of Shakespere's couple. Romeo and Juliet have become more than fictional characters; they are role models to conflicting young lovers. Romeo and Juliet has been re-told in countless versions and media. Toady's audiences are probably most familiar with Baz Luhrmann's film, which sets the narrative firmly in a late twentieth century urban society, in which the rival factions fight it out with pistols. Events are reported on television and Leonard Di Caprio/ Romeo meets Claire Danes/ Juliet passionately in the swimming pool rather than on her balcony. The play has been equally heavily used by other arts inspiring paintings, musical scores, operas and ballets. In my opinion I believe that we should really consider not 'who' is to blame but should instead consider 'what' is to blame. Without all the problems the pair face they may have not generally succeeded. If teenagers know that they are not allowed something they want it even more. Maybe if the ancient feud did not stand in the way the pair's relationship would not have been as strong as it was. 3 1 GCSE shakespere coursework By Joanne moriarty -11c ...read more.

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