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Violent Scenes in "Romeo and Juliet"

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Hannah Winter Violent Scenes in "Romeo and Juliet" "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy about two young people, blinded by their love for one another. Throughout the play violence is contrasted with the passionate love between Romeo and Juliet. The play both opens and ends with violent scenes, caused by the on going feud between two families - the Montagues and the Capulets. This violence leads to the deaths of central characters whose deaths finally bring about reconciliation between the families. In this essay I will discuss the theme the violent scenes and show how the conflict affects the characters and the action of the play. "Romeo and Juliet" was written by William Shakespeare and first performed in 1595. Set in the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth I ruled England it appealed to an audience that was Elizabethan. Elizabethans liked watching exciting or violent plays. Shakespeare makes his as exciting as possible in order to satisfy the audience and successfully keep them entertained. "Romeo and Juliet" is a classic story of forbidden love, with scenes of high drama, violence and a tragic ending. The violence throughout highlights the tendencies and warmth of the love story, which unfolds against this background. The play opens with a brawl between members of the Capulet and Montague households, in a public place in Verona. A Capulet servant, Sampson, provokes Abram who responds. The insult given is a typical one in Shakespeare's day and shows that the violence of the feud affected all levels of society - even the servants of the feuding families fight. ...read more.


Only after the death does Romeo realise that tragedy is inevitable "O, I am Fortune's fool." Shakespeare has ended this scene like before with a speech from the Prince. Again Shakespeare provides a contrast as Prince Escalus' wields power over life and death. Romeo's banishment from Verona only postpones his death to come. With even two deaths the violence is out of control and hurtling towards the final scene. The Prince, Capulet, Mountague and their wives enter the scene. The Prince demands to know who started the fights, and Benvolio answers, mainly pointing the blame at Tybalt. Lady Capulet weeps and tries to defend Tybalt, accusing the Mountague's of ganging up and out numbering him. She exclaims that Romeo should pay with his life for what he has done. The Prince, however, sees Mercutio's death as revenge enough. In order to keep peace, he fines both families heavily to make them very sorry for the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt. He also banishes Romeo from Verona, and orders Tybalt's body to be carried away. This scene is important because true feelings of the characters are revealed through the reality of the consequences of the killings. Ending again with a speech from the Prince, this scene is similar to the first violent scene. The Prince continues to warn, threaten and punish the two families, but still they carry on fighting, provoking and feeling hatred towards one another. A death in each household could not even clear the grudge, or help them to realise the truth Mercutio came to see about the whole situation. ...read more.


Friar Laurence appears in the churchyard, hears something, and Balthasar comes out of the darkness. Balthasar tells Friar Laurence, in answer to his question, that Romeo is in the tomb, and has been there for half an hour. He enters the tomb to find Romeo and Paris dead, and Juliet awakening. As she begins to arise from her sleep, she speaks of Romeo and is expectant of him. She does not yet realise he is dead; "O comfortable friar, where is my lord? I do remember well where I should be: And there I am. Where is my Romeo?" Friar Laurence explains to her what has happened, and urges her to leave the tomb with him quickly as the watch was coming. She does not wish to leave; "Go, thee hence, for I will not away." Friar Laurence leaves, and Juliet finds Romeo's poison. There is none left and it now clear that Juliet wants to end her life also. She kisses his lips, hoping there would still be some poison left on them. There is not. The page then enters with the watch, and she is running out of time. She takes Romeo's dagger in her hands and stabs herself, her last words being; "Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger, this is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die." Juliet dies. Paris' page leads the watchmen into the tomb. One of the watchmen becomes suspicious in seeing Juliet's freshly slain body, and orders some of his men to notify Prince Escalus, the Capulets and Mountagues. Others are sent to search the churchyard, and return with Balthasar and Friar Laurence. The Prince arrives, followed by Capulet and his wife. ...read more.

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