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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 a tragic play, which is about the love of two star-crossed lovers who take their life because the households, Capulet's and Montague's have an ancient grudge. Shakespeare doesn't deliver the reason for the conflict between the feuding families to the audience, therefore he may be giving us knowledge of how dangerous arguments can become if they're not kept under control. Although it is a play about love, there are many scenes that contain violence and conflict. The play opens with a fight and ends with deaths. This essay will discuss the key scenes, Act 1 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene 5. William Shakespeare commences 'Romeo and Juliet' with a brief outline of the oncoming stage performance. He inaugurates the performance with the prologue, which can also be described as a sonnet. Shakespeare applies this form to briefly summarise the story of Frankenstein. The chorus sets the scene for tragedy by presenting the two young protagonists as victims of fate, whose lives are marred from the outset by the enmity between their families: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life." Although Shakespeare embraces this poetic form to depict the play's main issues, he has adopted this method to portray another major theme: how fatal and destructive arguments can become if they've been provoked by imprudent and meaningless reasons- the deaths of the protagonists ceased the ancestral conflict between the two households, the cause of which is unknown to the audience throughout the duration of the play. This is significant because Shakespeare highlights the ridiculousness of the fights between the two households. Proceeding towards the first scene, Shakespeare introduces the play with two servants of the Capulet household, Gregory and Sampson: 'Enter Sampson and Gregory, with swords and bucklers.' ...read more.

Middle

In simple terms, the insult implies: "What I will have of you, coward, is one of your nine lives, and if removing that life doesn't compel you to behave appropriately towards me, then I'll just have to dry-beat(thrash without drawing blood) your other eight lives." Mercutio pursues this up with an insulting pun on the word, "ears": "Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? /Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out." If something has to be pulled by its ears to make it come, it's reluctant and doesn't wish to come, so if Tybalt's sword doesn't want to come out of the scabbard, it's simply because he doesn't yearn to fight. This reinforces the vehemence of Tybalt's attack, erupting the verbal confrontation into a wild battle. The conflict between the opponets gives the audience an early indication that something terrible is about to happen. Trying to cease the conflict between Mercutio and Tybalt, Romeo instructs Benvolio to knock their weapons and reminds the opponents of the Prince's warning. Thence, this scene becomes the most pivotal event in the play, because it creates the domino effect, which eventually leads to the tragic deaths of the death-marked lovers. In his attempt to restore the peace, Romeo throws himself between the combatants. Romeo's intervention causes Tybalt's sword to slip under his arm and pierce Mercutio's chest. Having performed a swordfight pusillanimously, Tybalt absconds with his cronies. Mercutio reports his injury by placing a curse upon the feuding households: "A plague a'both houses. I am sped." Elizabethan audience believed in curses, because they believed they had potency, particularly the curse of a dying man. Mercutio continues to deliver witticisms: "Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch, marry, 'tis enough." As spectators of the play, we would consider this declaration as slightly amusing, because Mercutio describes his injury as a minor scratch, however, he also admits that it is enough to eradicate him, consequently Benvolio flees to bring a surgeon. ...read more.

Conclusion

One conclusion that we can derive from this as to why Lady Capulet is not being sympathetic towards her daughter is that she may feel that she had to go through the same process when she was Juliet's age, therefore if her opinion did not hold any importance, then why should her daughter's. Secondly, Lady Capulet has to obey her husband's order and stand by it, regardless if she agrees with it or not. Also, the women were known as the angels of the house, therefore if they refused to conform, shame would be brought upon the family and they would lose their reputation or status in society. Placing this into social context, arranged marriages do not exist as much in the 21st century. However, in cultures where this is still present, women have to confront similar problems to those of the Elizabethan period. The Nurse, who has been more of a mother figure to Juliet than her biological mother, fails Juliet at this critical moment. To comfort Juliet in her desperate situation, the Nurse offers her an easy solution-marry Paris and forget the "dishclout" Romeo. This amoral recommendation betrays Juliet's trust and indicates the Nurse's inability to understand the passionate intensity and spiritual nature of Romeo and Juliet's love. William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' holds a message for the 21st century as well as the Elizabethan period, because it consists of certain activities which are still practiced in some cultures throughout today's society. A pivotal theme displayed by Shakespeare, which still holds its importance in some western and asian cultures is 'Arranged Marriages.' Women, who verbally defy their parent's decision, regarding her marriage, confront similar consequences to those of the 16th century and are belittled to a great extent. Although sexism has gradually diminished since the 16th century, within some male-dominated cultures, sexism still exists. Shakespeare has successfully published the calamitous consequences that absurd and ridiculous arguments possess, by illustrating the feud between the Capulet and Montague household, the reason to which was unknown throughout the play. Lucky Boparai ...read more.

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