How does Shakespeare convey and develop the theme of Conflict in Romeo and Juliet

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How Does Shakespeare Develop And Convey The Theme Of Conflict In Romeo And Juliet?

Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays for one main reason; it keeps the audience gripped and in suspense throughout the play. However this is not achieved through clever writing and screen play alone, this suspense is maintained by Shakespeare using a timeless method of getting someone’s attention; by showing the audience conflict. This magnificent play is all constructed around this simple 8 lettered world conflict, some form of confrontation and in Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare shows three types of conflict Verbal, physical and emotional.

        As Humans it is in our nature to try to avoid conflict however often it is unavoidable and is even necessary in the pursuit of happiness. This is what Shakespeare is trying to show in his plays, the bitter reality of life which may sound depressing now however showing this struggle for happiness is the best way for Shakespeare to enthuse and entertain his audience.

Romeo and Juliet is a perfect example of one of his plays. This play is about Romeo and Juliet “a pair of star crossed lovers” that “take their life”, this one line summarises the whole play, two lovers that reach an “untimely death” in a desperate attempt to be together and this struggle occupies the “two hours traffic” of the stage. In this essay I will explore how Shakespeare conveys this conflict so well without even the use of special effects, lighting or fancy props.

        Even before the play has begun Shakespeare sets the scene with an explosive prologue in the form of a sonnet which outlines the plot and more importantly the conflict. As early as line 3 Shakespeare writes; “from ancient grudge break to new mutiny” which immediately suggests violence and therefore death which of course is physical conflict. However it does not stop there the prologue continues to say “doth with their death bury their parent’s strife” the word “death” suggests physical conflict and “bury their parent’s strife” suggests verbal/emotional conflict. This line like the other shows the conflict between the “two houses both alike in dignity”; however this line also shows how the families can put all the hatred behind them and somehow reach peace. Again more conflict is conveyed in line 10 when the prologue mentions their “parents rage” which suggests verbal conflict and potential physical conflict between the two families which develops as the play progresses.

        This prologue outlines the play, it sets the scene “fair Verona” and shows all the three types of conflict that we witness in the play and the prologue prepares us for this. Shakespeare makes a bold decision in giving away the end of the play in the prologue however I believe that this comes to fruition. As the play builds up in a crescendo of conflict and the plot unravels; the audience start to become so involved in the play and the characters that they even start to hope and even believe that it will all work out even though there is a voice in the back of your head constantly reminding you that it will all end in tragedy and true to the voice it does. This prologue seems like a gamble however Shakespeare knew that giving the story away so early on will further the theme of conflict and even bring it upon the audiences mind, on whether everything will go according to plan or not. This technique that Shakespeare cleverly makes use of helps to build the suspense and add to the conflict in the play.

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This conflict that we are prepared for in the prologue is certainly lived up to in Act One Scene One which kicks off with an abusive exchange of insults which then leads to a “civil brawl” between the Montagues and the Capulets.

This scene begins with Sampson and Gregory (Capulet servants) boasting about how they are superior to all Montagues and what they would do if they came across one. Sampson states that he will “strike quickly”   which is a direct reference to physical conflict so therefore builds tension, they then go on to say how they will “thrust…maids ...

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