Violence and Conflict in Romeo and Juliet

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David Holmes

Violence and Conflict in Romeo and Juliet

I will be writing about the violence and conflict in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Although the play is typically known as a tragic love play, there are many important scenes in the play which are violent. The play was estimated to be written in 1597, however it was first performed in 1660.

        Two families called Capulet and Montague who live in Verona are both wealthy and both believe they are the most important family in Verona. This causes friction which causes violence. Romeo is from the Montague family and Juliet from the Capulet. They secretly fall in love and arrange a wedding. Friar Lawrence secretly weds the two lovers. During all this Juliet’s family are pressuring her into marrying Paris. She is against this. Romeo has been banished by the prince of Verona to Mantua for the murder of Tybalt. Friar Lawrence creates a plan so Romeo and Juliet can live together peacefully. Juliet fakes her death for forty eight hours by taking a potion, her family believe her to be dead. A letter was sent out to Romeo telling him of the plan, but he never receives the message. He hears of Juliet’s’ death and kills himself. When Juliet wakes she finds Romeo dead by her side, so she kills herself. This stops the feud between the families as they have both lost a member of their family.

        In the sixteenth century Queen Elizabeth ruled England. People of that generation enjoyed spending time out at the theatre. The difference in the class of people was much bigger in Elizabethan times. The rich would be very rich and the poor very poor. But at the theatre all classes attended, it would only cost one penny for the cheapest entrance to see the play. Going to the theatre would last the whole afternoon and was a very sociable occasion. The play would have been performed during the day-time: this is because there was no form of lighting. The actors had detailed costumes and props were used, but no background scenery was used. If it rained then the audience who were standing would get wet along with the actors. The stage would have only been around one and a half metres above the ground. The audience who had paid a penny would be standing and would be very close the performance. Most people from London visited the theatre because there was little other form of entertainment. Shakespeare had to make his plays as interesting as possible or the audience would not return to the theatre and see is plays again.

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        The Violence in the play starts straight away from the beginning of Act 1, Scene1. The start of the play begins with the two families meeting in a public place. They begin to quarrel and fighting breaks out. Even the servants of the families are involved which shows how bad the fighting was, because the servants were not even part of the families. Benvolio who is a Montague tries to calm things down,

        “I do but keep the peace.”

Benvolio acts as the peace keeper for the two families. He does not want Capulet and Montague to keep arguing and ...

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