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"Shakespeare's play: 'Romeo and Juliet' is more about violence than love."

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Introduction

SHAKESPEARE LITERATURE/LANGUAGE COURSEWORK "Shakespeare's play: 'Romeo and Juliet' is more about violence than love." With your knowledge of Shakespeare's stage craft and skills as a writer, discuss the above quotation. 'Romeo and Juliet' is a romantic tragedy first performed on the Elizabethan stage in around 1595. Frequently 'Romeo and Juliet' can be classified as a romantic play; however this is a common misapprehension for a number of reasons. Violence is one of the major themes in the play which influences the relationship between the main leading roles, Romeo and Juliet. The love between Romeo and Juliet comes about from an ongoing family feud between two antagonist households, the Capulets and Montagues. In the play, this ongoing feud has inevitably resulted in the death of members of either household in the past. The love of Romeo and Juliet inescapably brings about violence and conflict as Romeo is a member of the Montague household and Juliet being that of the Capulet household. During the time of the Elizabethans, love was not a powerful emotion which captured individuals and brought them together as it is conveyed today. In Shakespeare's time, the father of a family controlled the actions taken by all family members and thus it was the father who decided with whom his child's love was to be placed. ...read more.

Middle

At this point, Shakespeare depicts love not just as a raw compassion, but also as a dangerous emotion which, ironically, brings Romeo and Juliet closer to their deaths and their love for one another. This scene is perhaps the most violent scene in the whole play and is in grave contrast with the scene before where Friar Lawrence marries the two lovers. The stagecraft used in this scene is when a more developed series of jokes is in Mercutio's response to Tybalt's claim that he 'consortest' with Romeo. This is the cue for a series of puns about music ('minstrels' and 'dance' leading to 'fiddlestick'). Also pathetic fallacy - when the weather reflects the action of a play - is evident in line 4 of Act 3 Scene 1. This builds up tension and suspense to the scene. 'For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.' (III.1.4) As the play becomes progressively more violent as a theme, the love Romeo and Juliet have for one another brings them more rapidly to death and violence. The 'pair of star-cross'd lovers' begin to deem suicide as their only choice, as this will preserve their love for one another forever. ...read more.

Conclusion

'It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden, too like the lightning, which doth cease to be'. (II.2.118-119) The use of foreboding here reminds the audience of the prologue, where Romeo and Juliet's inevitable deaths are outlined, and how the powerful romance of the previous scenes will be momentary. The chorus at the beginning of the play states that Romeo and Juliet are "star-crossed lovers" which means that fate - in Elizabethan times, fate was believed on the movement of the stars - controls them. When Romeo believes that Juliet is dead he gets on his knees and says "then I defy you, stars." The act of Romeo is both violent as he denounces the stars and also romantic as he would kill himself to be with Juliet. Shakespeare has shown that love can be dangerous and violent as well as beautiful. He has clearly shown this by the use of language and the sense of imagery he has revealed within the play. Shakespeare has left us with a powerful message: love is not always a pleasant thing, and it can cause violence and perhaps death too. From the point of an Elizabethan, the language would be more appreciated as Elizabethans would have a greater understanding of the play. Simran S Kooner 10HA ...read more.

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