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"The conventional view of Romeo and Juliet is to see it as a play which concerns itself very much with the theme of love. However, it is fair to say that the play concerns itself just as much with the theme of conflict." - Discuss

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"The conventional view of Romeo and Juliet is to see it as a play which concerns itself very much with the theme of love. However, it is fair to say that the play concerns itself just as much with the theme of conflict." - Discuss It would, in fact, be easy to say that the common audience of Romeo and Juliet, whether it is an audience of a dramatic version or the text, is one that would see Romeo and Juliet as a play primarily promoting the theme of love. However, a closer look at the text and, in some cases, the dramatic versions of the play, reveals that the theme of conflict is explored throughout the play in almost an entirely equal measure. Conflict has been explored by Shakespeare throughout the play for many reasons, one prominent one being to provide a stark contrast to the obvious theme of love presented, rather like the contrast between the colours black and white. One immediate question that appears in the mind of the Romeo and Juliet reader is why does Shakespeare incorporate conflict within the very first scene of the play? ...read more.


The head of the Verona society is of course Prince Escalus and he ultimately fails in preventing major losses to conflict, loosing a statesman in Mercutio and several other citizens under his reign, even though he does attempt to crack down on conflict early in the play by issuing a death penalty warning: "If you ever disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace." (Lines 94-95, Act I, Scene I) Other types of conflict are explored by Shakespeare, similar to the way in which he explores different types of love. He looks at conflict between characters in great depth, and immediately, when thinking along the lines of this topic, the reader is brought to Act III, Scene I. This scene is a most perfect scene for displaying the many conflicts setup by Shakespeare between the characters. Firstly, there is the obvious conflict between Mercutio and his wit, who openly mocks the pompous and arrogant Tybalt, using lines such as "Come sir, your passado!" (Line 84, Act III, Scene I). ...read more.


This conflict is possibly used by Shakespeare, to teach another lesson, in that the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues, which leads to so many deaths, is in fact pointless, due to the lack of reasoning behind it. Not once in the play is the reason behind this ancient battle stated or even suggested, and Shakespeare may well be teaching the lesson that conflict, especially conflict with no obvious meaning, is wrong and damaging, which may in turn be describing his feelings to the violent society he himself lived in. This could therefore be described as the moral of the play, certainly from the conflict side at least. And so, if the exploration of conflict by Shakespeare throughout Romeo and Juliet leads to a very intelligent and important moral, just like the one provided by his exploration of love (an example being that violent love and passion leads to a violent end), then it would be fair to say that violence and conflict is accentuated throughout the play on as many occasions as love, if not more, and thus is dealt with by Shakespeare in an at least equal measure. English Coursework - 11/05/03 / Aaron Ferguson 4ML ...read more.

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