'Romeo and Juliet' is a play of violent emotions. Discuss.

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                Jacqueline Cheng UC4V

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a play of violent emotions. Discuss.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not only a play that has a violent ending; instead, the entire play consists of violent emotions. These emotions lead to conflicts, and are significant elements that contribute to the drama, tension and crisis of the play. Violent emotions are those which are so strong that they lead to violence, or those that are literally violent. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, violent emotions are revealed through the plot, languages and characters, and they play a huge part in various themes.

In ‘Romeo and Juliet’, love is dominant. However, it does not capture the audience by portraying the beauty and tenderness of love; rather, love is depicted in a way such that it is a violent, brutal and overpowering emotion that it could be devastating. In the prologue, ‘death-marked love’ and ‘children’s end’ evidently reveal that the play has a violent ending involving death, and with no doubt, it is a consequence of love. The duality of love in shown in many ways, in Act 1 Scene 1, Shakespeare uses oxymoron, such as ‘heavy lightness’, ‘serious vanity’, and ‘bright smoke’. These images make the audience visualize and imagine how love can be sweet and affectionate, but at the same time, painful and violent. In the same scene, Romeo says,

‘Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs:

Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;

Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.’

This also shows the two different sides of love. ‘Fire’ and ‘sea’ contrast with each other, since one is hot, and the other is cold; which is a sharp portrayal of love. Shakespeare often personifies love. In Act 1 scene 1, Benvolio says,

        ‘Alas, that love, so gentle in his view,

        Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!’,

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and in Act 1 scene 4, Romeo comments:

        ‘Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,

        Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.’

Here, love is being characterized. In Romeo’s lines, love is portrayed as a lively beast. Using the word ‘prick’ and comparing love with ‘thorn’, love is depicted as an aggressive and violent creature.

Romeo and Juliet both have thoughts of committing suicide. In Act 3 scene 3, Romeo brandishes a knife in Friar Lawrence’s cell and threatens to kill himself after having been banished from Verona and his wife. In Act 4 ...

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