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What Makes Romeo and Juliet a Tragic Story?

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What makes Romeo and Juliet a tragic story? The word tragedy derives from the fourteenth century French word 'tragedie', but ultimately from the Greek word 'Tragodia'. In the main stream perspective, the word tragedy is thought of as "An event in life that evokes thought or feelings of sorrow or grief". This maybe correct but it can also mean "a disastrous circumstance or event such as serious illness, financial ruin or death." This description of the word relates to the events of September 11th 2001 in which six thousand innocent men, women and children were killed because of terrorism. In a way, this example of tragedy links t o the Romeo and Juliet play because there is an overwhelming source of unjust death and anguish at the end of the play. From the very beginning of the play, in the prologue, it is apparent that the idea of fate is one if not the most important aspects of the tragedy in Romeo and Juliet. It says, "A pair of star cross'd take their life;" Which suggests that the stars are dictating their lives and love for each other. It is almost as thought they are victim of something bigger than they can control. The dramatic irony in the play links to the idea that their lives are dictated by something they can't control. This idea is reflected in their language throughout the play. ...read more.


Their youth is shown best in the Zeffirelli production of the play in which Juliet is playing with her toys and being childish and then she was called by her parents and she skipped like a young child would. In a way, their deaths were a good thing in the end because it stopped the feuding families' fights and arguments. My next point is on the speed throughout the play. You could say that the play 'flies' past. The play only takes place over five days; I think that by doing this, Shakespeare made audiences feel the full extent of the tragedy and it is very important to keep the pace quick to keep the audience interested in what is happening and to add the sense of intensity in the play. At the beginning of the play the time seems to pass slowly, this is because Romeo at this time is 'love sick' and fretting over his beloved Rosaline, he says, "The hours are long." Later, during the play, Capulet complains that the years rush past too quickly. The play is filled with speed, speed to kill whomever in the way and speed to commit suicide when life seems empty. Everywhere there is angry feuding, surging passion and sudden death and all of this happens in such a short time. The most shocking part that speed plays in the idea of tragedy is that Romeo and Juliet growing up in such a short time, from being childish at the start of the play to being married lovers within the space of a few days. ...read more.


She feels she is betrayed by the only person she trusted. The comedy factor of the play really dies out in act three, scene two when Romeo and Juliet are married, Mercutio is killed and Romeo takes his revenge on Tybalt Romeo and Juliet links to Antigone in many ways the biggest being the idea of dilemma and choice. Creon does not know what to do about Antigone breaking his rules because she was doing something that was right for her religion and she is part of his family. In Romeo and Juliet, there are few instances when dilemma and choice are big factors, Friar Lawrence and the situation he is put in to try to stop Juliet's marriage to Paris. However, Juliet experiences the biggest dilemma when Romeo kills her cousin Tybalt, she does not know what to do or think, as she loves them both dearly. When the dilemma arises between the choice of her husband and her duty to her parents over the marriage to Paris she is put in a difficult position. The whole play is full of many aspects of tragedy and little twists and turns in the story line. This is just to keep readers and audiences in theatres on their toes because they don't know what might happen next. They all go through a great deal of emotional intensity with sadness and disorder everywhere. The fact that both families are grieving together at the end at the end of the play just shows that there is more to life than petty rivalry and that it is actually for living peacefully. ...read more.

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