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Violence and conflict are central to Romeo and Juliet. Discuss this with relevance to three scenes

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Introduction

Violence and conflict are central to 'Romeo and Juliet'. Discuss this with reference to at least the following three scenes in the play: * Act 1, Scene 1 * Act 3, Scene 1 * Act 3, Scene 5 For this piece of coursework I am going to explore the conflict and violence involved in the play "Romeo and Juliet". The central themes in "Romeo and Juliet" are conflict and violence. Shakespeare uses many opposites to emphasize the conflict. They are, love and hate, prejudice, free will and fate; "A pair of star-cross'd lovers." The play is so effective because a modern day audience can relate to at least one of the themes. The play is set in the heat of summer in the streets of Verona, "In fair Verona, where we lay our scene". Dramatic irony is created in the next line: "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny". It is ironic that violence could happen in such a beautiful city, and it is also dramatically ironic that the audience knows something horrible is going to happen; yet the characters don't. Shakespeare uses only five days in the play from when Romeo and Juliet first meet to their deaths. The speed of events keeps the audience continuously involved with the play. The play opens with a prologue and this is where the violence is first introduced and evidently made clear that it will be a main theme throughout the play. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo considers him family, but the others think he's being a coward when he refuses to fight. "Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage". Romeo tries to be nice to Tybalt "I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise", Romeo says this because he does not want to hurt a cousin he just gained through marriage to Juliet, and he doesn't want to hurt Juliet by killing her cousin. This is yet another sort of conflict for Romeo because his friends expect him to fight Tybalt, but he knows he can't because of Juliet. Because he refuses to fight conflict arises between him and his friend Mercutio. Mercutio calls Romeo a coward "O calm, dishonourable vile submission", because Romeo decided to stand down. Mercutio also tries to coax Tybalt into duelling him "(he draws) Tybalt, you rat catcher, will you walk?" he wants to fight Tybalt for Romeo, because he will not do it himself. Tybalt knows that the conflict between him and Romeo will grow if he kills Mercutio, so he thrusts his sword under Romeo's arm and into Mercutio. As he is dying Mercutio says "A plague a'both your houses! They have made worms' meat of me", in my opinion the words "They have made worms' meat of me" are the most violent imagery throughout the three scenes; Mercutio is saying that the feud between the two families has reduced him to rotting meat crawling with maggots. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows just how violent Capulet, who is a usually calm man, can be. Now Juliet turns to her mother begging for her to at least delay the marriage to Paris. Juliet threatens her by saying "Or if you do not, make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies"; she will kill herself if her mother doesn't delay the wedding. However, the violent threat doesn't work her mother, Lady Capulet simply ignores the threat and says, "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee." When Juliet is left alone, she speaks her last words of the scene; "If all else fails, myself have power to die". Juliet means that if she can find no other way of getting out of the marriage she will commit suicide, which in itself is an awfully violent thing to do. I think that violence and conflict are very central to 'Romeo and Juliet' because it keeps the audience interested and on the edge of their seats, especially when there is a fight going on. Violence and conflict are also the main factors make the famous play a tragedy. When I think back to reading the three scenes, the main paired theme that sticks in my head is the theme of violence and love, and hoe Shakespeare uses them together most of the time. My favourite scene of the three is Act3, Scene1 because it is the scene that knocks over the first domino in a long chain of events that eventually lead to the play's famous ending. ...read more.

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