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What are the main conflicts in Romeo and Juliet

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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.

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