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To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero?

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To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero? The first tragedy plays were written and performed by the Athenians in Greece. During that time, gods and religion were very important in Athenians' lives and so the plays usually revolved around stories about Gods and people of high status such as kings. In the play, 'Romeo and Juliet', the story revolves around Romeo and Juliet who are of high status as Romeo is the son of "Montague" and Juliet is the daughter of "Capulets" who are "both alike in dignity." This makes Romeo more of a tragic hero as the play is a tragedy. But his fall in life does not involve the fate of the whole nation as in many tragic plays so this could lessen Romeo being a tragic character as the play is lacks this feature of a tragic play. The language in tragedy plays is often dramatic and 'Romeo and Juliet' often has characters speaking dramatic language. Romeo's language at the end of the play is very dramatic and he uses metaphors and makes death a "lean abhorrhero?heorh�d monster" that keeps Juliet "in the dark to be his paramour." He makes death seem like a selfish thing, which takes Juliet's life away from Romeo so that she can be its lover. This is a very dramatic and cruel metaphor for death that Romeo has used. Romeo says that the metaphorical death monster "hath sucked the honey" of Juliet's "breath." Romeo describes death as a "bitter conduct" for him, the use of sense of taste makes Juliet seem 'sweet' and innocent if her breath was like honey. This would also make him a tragic character. Another feature of a tragedy play is the increasing speed of events leading to the end of the play. 'Romeo and Juliet' does show this feature because Romeo and Juliet's marriage, Mercutio's death, Tybalt's death and the death of Romeo and Juliet all happen in a short space of time; a couple of days. ...read more.


Friar Lawrence had married them young even though it was not a very good idea because it meant they were even harder to separate and he had setup a failed plan for Juliet and Romeo to be together when Romeo was banished. He had given Juliet a potion so that everyone would think her dead once she had taken it. During the time Juliet is in a deep sleep from the potion Friar Lawrence would send a letter to Romeo about the plan so he could come to be with Juliet and together they would escape. But the plan fails when Friar John who is trusted to send the letter does not and Balthasar reaches Romeo before the letter does about his 'dead wife'. Romeo then decides his life has ended when his wife is dead and so visits the apothecary to buy poison for his death. This well set out plan makes the ending more tragic when it fails and makes it emotionally powerful to the audience. Ruth Padel had said that "tragedy is about public feeling" and the ending does make the play very tragic as the deaths came upon the lovers unnecessarily. The audience gets a feeling of waste of life at the end because Romeo and Juliet should not have died and could have lived on without one another. But Shakespeare perhaps wanted his audience to see what love can do to all of us; take their own life away. Love for Juliet also makes him hasty and also blinds him to consequences. He rushes to be married to her and never thinks about what would happen if Capulet finds out about this news-he might get killed. Friar Lawrence warns him about this much disagreed early marriage and tells him to slow down or think about what he is doing "wisely and slow they stumble that run fast" but Romeo ignores this important advice. ...read more.


Romeo may have used "gear" to represent sexual organs and contributed to the end sexual joke. It is not just the audience who may care for the welfare of Romeo but also other characters within the play do too, which makes him seem a hero because people suffer emotions for him. We learn from Montague near the end of the play that Lady Montague died from grief of her son being in exile, "grief of my son's death hath stopped her breath." Even though you could say it was a coincidence that Lady Montague died when Romeo was exiled. But you know that Lady Montague did care for Romeo's well being because she had said she was "Right glad" "he was not at" the "fray" at the beginning of the play. This proves to the audience that other characters admire Romeo. To conclude, we can see that Romeo is a tragic character as he is in a very much of a tragic play but although he shows some aspects of a hero, he is not much of a hero because he lets his emotions ultimately take his life. I think a hero should not be inferior to his emotions and should overcome them otherwise he cannot overcome fear, a feeling that most heroes can overcome. Even though Romeo sometimes shows physical qualities of a hero they are not of major value, for example, he does not save a crowd of people in danger. Most of the time, Romeo acts immaturely; he shows this by getting married early and killing Tybalt without thinking about the consequences. I think Romeo is more admired as a romantic hero rather than a hero who saves people from danger. He is a character that is liked by the way he speaks but in general he does not take any physical actions that are impressively heroic like. So, you cannot really call him a true hero. Romeo is in a tragedy play and so is a tragic character but not so much of a hero. hero?heorh Sheena Lam 11H ...read more.

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