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Violence and conflict are central to "Romeo and Juliet." Discuss this theme with reference to at least three scenes in the play.

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Introduction

Violence and conflict are central to "Romeo and Juliet." Discuss this theme with reference to at least three scenes in the play. 'Romeo and Juliet' is typically stereotyped as a romantic love story about " a pair of star-crossed lovers", however, beyond this soft exterior reveals a bitter tale of violence, conflict, and hate. The Montague's and Capulets - two acrimonious households "both alike in dignity" are the root and cause of countless spiteful arguments and vicious murders. This rancorous conflict present in both families, ultimately leads to the fatal and horrific suicides of the two young lovers. Throughout the duration of this essay, the stereotypical image that 'Romeo and Juliet' portrays will be explored, leaving murder, violence, and conflict to play a major part in the classic 'love' story 'Romeo and Juliet'. The famous playwright, William Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet' in 1564. It was first performed in the extravagant London Globe theatre to a blood - thirsty 16th Century audience. Queen Elizabeth I , who reigned at this thrilling period, delighted in private viewings of his most famous plays, as she had a love for his exhilarant form of entertainment. In a typical 16th century society excluding modern technicalities, people craved for entertainment. ...read more.

Middle

Couple it with something, make it a word and a blow." (Mercutio lines 41 & 42) This violently increasing tension ultimately leads to a vicious fight between both Mercutio, and Tybalt. The malicious brawl, being the result of Tybalt's taunting gesture, that " Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo." (Line 46) Insulting Mercutio's masculinity. When Romeo arrives on the intense, belligerent scene, Tybalt constantly insults him in a desperate attempt to provoke a fight. Romeo, however responds calmly and clandestinely gestures to his love for Juliet. Mercutio, incensed at Romeo's apparent cowardice challenges Tybalt: " Tybalt, you rat catcher, will you walk?" (Line 76) (The term 'rat catcher' is used in referring to his name which in the story of 'Reynard the fox' was that of an evil cat.) After a bloody, violent struggle, Mercutio is fatally wounded. On his deathbed, he curses the two households with " A plague on both your houses!" (Line 94) This quote is very emotional for Romeo as Mercutio is one of his closest friends. Mercutio blames him for his fatal injury because of his affair with Juliet, scape- goating both families' problems onto the love-struck Romeo. He then tragically dies. After realising Juliet's beauty and love has made him "effeminate", Romeo, incensed with anger, bitterly sets out to cold - bloodedly take revenge on the 'evil' Tybalt. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Romeo dramatically swallows the poison, Juliet would violently open her eyes and awake. Whilst waiting for the poison to take effect, they would stare longingly into each other's eyes. There would be complete silence creating a tense, emotional atmosphere. Romeo would then tragically close his eyes and pass away. With this, Juliet screams at the top of her voice to show her sad, frustrated emotions. Friar Lawrence would have heard this scream and just as he burst through the doors, a loud gunshot interrupts the silence leaving the love struck couple dead. The speechless friar would stand watching in total amazement as guards discover the horrific corpses. Finally, to conclude, I think that this play follows five main elements of conflict, violence, love, revenge, and betrayal. I think that it is equally balanced between those strong images. The stereotypical link between 'Romeo and Juliet' and love, has been explored leaving the violent aspects to become apparent. My favourite scene within the play is the concluding scene in which the horrific suicides occur. I favour this because it sums up the meaning of the whole play. It allows you to realise the fatal story of two innocent young lovers ripped apart due to bitterness and resent. How two families hate can lead to so many deaths and vicious conflict. This story is very emotional with several different views portrayed. ...read more.

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