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What sympathy do we feel for Romeo and Juliet throughout the play? How does the playwright build up sympathy for the plight of the lovers during the play? Why is it important to do so?

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Introduction

What sympathy do we feel for Romeo and Juliet throughout the play? How does the playwright build up sympathy for the plight of the lovers during the play? Why is it important to do so? "Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows." Romeo's statement when he first sees Juliet, encapsulates the lovers' plight. It metaphorically illustrates Juliet as being a perfect, innocent girl who is forced to live amongst the evil, hateful society. It also shows their love as pure in a world, which is dark and intolerant. We see the love between Romeo and Juliet as trapped, isolated by the larger forces at work, both fate and the pressures of the feud. The sympathy we feel is caused by the intolerance of society as their love in untenable, but also because of the helplessness of them and their various attempts of grasping control, which are all, failed. In the beginning of the play, the chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are "star-crossed lovers" which indicates that the love between Romeo and Juliet is controlled by fate, but also that their destiny to die together has already been written and can't be changed. This sense of fate carries on throughout the play, and the characters also are quite aware of it, for example the Friar. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet but also causes the most sympathy as it is a worthless and pointless feud which is only kept alive by the servants, who ironically are not actually part of the family directly. This tension between the families is what causes Romeo and Juliet to be in constant fear of being caught together because of the uproar it would cause. This is shown in the famous balcony scene where Romeo and Juliet flirt to each other in the middle of night, to avoid the families seeing them. However the tension is high, as the dark soon turns to light and the constant interruptions by the Nurse, represents the fact that they will soon be found out. This causes great sympathy towards Romeo and Juliet because it means they are almost never able to be together, because of the families' feud, and the pointlessness of the feud enhances the sympathy felt towards them, as the reason for them not being together is even weaker. Also in this balcony scene, Romeo and Juliet are shown to be in deep love, even sharing a love sonnet, which indicates their strong love and relationship. With this strong love between them, we feel sympathy for them as they clearly have a special relationship, being able to share a love sonnet from heart, but still they are not able to express this love because of a pointless family feud. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example Romeo, when banished from Verona, shouts "I defy you stars" and goes to Verona to see Juliet as he believes she is dead. Equally Juliet tries to defeat fate by taking the potion and faking her own death. However in each case where they try to "defy the stars" and live happily together their plans fail. The harsh reality which causes great sympathy for Romeo and Juliet is that even if their plans had worked they would not have had a high quality life together as they have no proper working skills, job or money without their family support. Shakespeare makes us feel sympathy towards Romeo and Juliet in several different ways and for many reasons. The main reason being the pointless family feud, fate but also overbearing parents who do not let Romeo and Juliet live their own lives. Shakespeare has made us feel sympathy for Romeo and Juliet so that he can make a point about society and family life at the time. Shakespeare wants to show how overbearing parents who rule their children's' lives and dictate what they shall or shall not do, for example with Juliet marrying Paris. The cause of Romeo and Juliet's tragedies and our sympathy is also caused by the "dark society" that Shakespeare describes. He wants to illustrate just how intolerant the society is, even if it is for pathetic reasons such as the feud, and the fact they do not stop to care for Romeo and Juliet's powerful love enhances this point Shakespeare wants to make. ...read more.

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