• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What are the main conflicts in Romeo and Juliet

Extracts from this document...


What are the main conflicts in Romeo and Juliet? Who are they between and how have they come about? How does Shakespeare's use of stagecraft and language convey the conflict between the characters? What is meant by conflict? The dictionary defines "conflict" as "a struggle to resist or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle, antagonism". No matter how hard one tries to avoid it, conflict enters our lives. All drama involves conflict, without conflict there is no drama! Different forms of conflict exist, usually either, man versus himself, man verses man or man verses nature. Every story should have conflict on at least one of these levels, as conflict brings the plot to life keeping the audience hooked. Characters need to go through conflict, before there can be a happy ending or the happy ending won't mean anything. The central conflict in Romeo and Juliet is the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. Members of each family hate, insult and fight each other, even the household staff become caught up in this rivalry. Shakesphere's Romeo and Juliet is essentially known as love story, although, it is entwined with different types of conflict, and this is what I will be examining throughout this essay. The Prologue is a fourteen line sonnet and would have been read to the audience providing an introduction to the play. ...read more.


Both Tybalt and Mercutio are portrayed as powerful characters and when Tybalt asks for a word, Mercutio replies, "make it a word and a blow," (3:1:35), already provoking Tybalt. Tybalt tries to provoke Romeo, ''thou art a villain" (3:1:54). Romeo does not want to fight and Shakespeare uses dramatic irony here, the audience knows, he has just married Tybalt's cousin, Juliet, creating a sense of tension. The Elizabethan society believed that a man too much in love lost his manliness. Romeo clearly states this, 'thy beauty hath made me effeminate' (3:1:105). Once again, this statement can be seen as a conflict of emotions, between the world of love and the public world of honor, duty, and friendship. The sudden, fatal violence in this scene, as well as the buildup to the fighting, remind the audience that for all its emphasis on love, beauty, and romance, Romeo and Juliet takes place in Elizabethan times, which is predominantly a masculine world. Notions of honor, pride, and status are destined to erupt in a fury of conflict. The viciousness and danger is a dramatic tool that Shakespeare uses to make the lovers' romance seem even more precious and fragile. The fights between Mercutio and Tybalt and then between Romeo and Tybalt are chaotic; Tybalt kills Mercutio under Romeo's arm. The audience feels sadness when Mercutio dies, it seems that Tybalt was quite underhand. ...read more.


The heavy use of swordplay throughout communicates the dominant theme of conflict. The love of Romeo and Juliet is set within the context of hatred, generated by the feud, although deep, passionate and more powerful than death itself. Romeo's struggles with Tybalt, Mercutio fighting with Tybalt and Juliet's nurse are all examples of conflict. The conflict of light and dark, day and night, darkness stands for death, violence and tragedy, whereas images of light reflect love, life and hope. Inner conflict, emotional conflict and love and hate conflict is seen throughout the play, mostly with Romeo, between the world of love and the public world of honor, duty, and friendship. Juliet also demonstrates inner, emotional conflict with her nurse and father. Lord Capulet shows a conflict of interest by insulting Juliet and her nurse. Shakespeare uses techniques, such as oxymorons, to enhance conflict throughout the play. Not just in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but in all scripts even today, conflict is an essential ingredient, it adds tension, enabling sad and happy moments. Without conflict, the script would be boring, uninteresting and virtually pointless. It serves to leave the audience interested and wondering what will happen next and this is certainly evident in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's use of stagecraft and language brings the story to life; each character is distinctive and memorable, revealing the conflict and turmoil of emotions experienced by Romeo and Juliet and evoking moods of violence, tenderness, humour, passion and terror. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Lynn Parker ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Romeo and Juliet - What different types of love are represented in the play, ...

    The Greeks thought that the son was a chariot on wheels driven by horses hence "steeds". In the myth it was driven by Phoebus' son Phaeton, one day Phaeton was killed when he drove too fast. This is dramatic irony because it is an indirect reference to death which was Tybalt's fate, and both hers and Romeo's in the end.

  2. Romeo and Juliet: What dramatic function does conflict serve in this story

    Benvolio then enters the scene and tries to break up the fight 'Part fools. Put up your swords, you know not what you do'. Benvolio is a peace maker and is always trying to do the right thing and stay out of trouble as you can see in the quote above.

  1. How important is conflict in Romeo and Juliet? Do you think the outcome of ...

    The effect the feud has on the play is that we can already see that the relationship between Romeo and Juliet would be fairly prohibiting and would be seen in the eyes of Montague and Capulet as deceitful and dishonourable.

  2. Romeo and Juliet conflicts essay

    But in most of these films this conversation is left out, this is because modern audiences would not have found some of the metaphors used amusing and instead they would have been confused, where as the audience in the Elizabethan times would have found these jokes amusing.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work