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Romeo and Juliet "Violence and Conflict are central to 'Romeo and Juliet'". Discuss this statement and explain how far you agree or disagree.

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet "Violence and Conflict are central to 'Romeo and Juliet'". Discuss this statement and explain how far you agree or disagree. In any play written by William Shakespeare, the famous actor/playwright born in 1564 under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, there is bound to be plenty of 'meat on the bone' (i.e. romance, tragedy, action) in regards to the script. Beneath the three necessary fundamentals important to any story - character, plot and theme - Shakespeare is able to produce some very complex and unique ideas. One of Shakespeare's more famous plays is the tragic romance of 'Romeo and Juliet', written by Shakespeare most probably between the years 1594 and 1596. Throughout 'Romeo and Juliet', many of Shakespeare's ideas and images are induced - one of the key ones being the violence that surrounds the city of Verona. In Verona, the feud between the Capulets (Juliet's family) and the Montagues (Romeo's family) reigns supreme, and seems to completely outrule the obvious elements of love, justice and tragedy, as "civil blood makes civil hands unclean" (Prologue, line 4). ...read more.

Middle

As said by Sampson, one of Capulet's servants, "a dog of the house of Montague moves me" (Act I, Scene I, line 7). To portray the image of violence in the characters, Shakespeare has Prince Escalus recite a monologue to the brawlers; "...You men, you beasts, That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins, On pain of torture, from those bloody hands Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground And hear the sentence of your moved prince. Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, By thee, old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets And made Verona's ancient citizens Cast by their grave-beseeming ornaments To wield old partisans, in hands as old, Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate." ( Act I, Scene I, 81-93) The pure visual interpretation of this violent nature shows exactly how the residents of Verona are also dragged into the feud - the Capulets and Montagues are not the only ones affected by the rivalry. The more 'higher-ranking' side of society, for example, noble characters such as Paris, Romeo and Tybalt also participate in the aggressive violence - this explains the universal image. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is quite sad how the only way that they learn is through the horrible deaths of their children, which ultimately serves to end the feud. This depressing image strangely turns violence into a vision of hope almost, in that after war comes peace, and after destruction comes renewal. Without the injustice and power that the violence of 'Romeo and Juliet' incorporates, the play itself wuld probably not have been as effective and popularised as it was in the days when it was written and as it is done so today. If diplomatic action was taken to try and end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, then the drive behind the characters' actions would not be as strong. However, the conflict's closure through the violent deaths of Romeo and Juliet tie the story up well, showing that from all this violence a sense of hope lingers. It is Shakespeare's initial central theme of violence which strengthens the intensity of the story and the interest we take in reading or watching the play. ...read more.

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