Romeo and Juliet
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“These violent delights have violent ends,” says Friar Laurence in an attempt to warn Romeo , early on in the play, of the dangers of falling in love too hard or too fast. In the world of Romeo and Juliet , love is not pretty or idealized—it is chaotic and dangerous. Throughout the play, love is connected through word and action with violence, and Romeo and Juliet ’s deepest mutual expression of love occurs when the “star-crossed lovers take their life.” By connecting love with pain and ultimately with suicide, Shakespeare suggests that there is an inherent sense of violence in many of the physical and emotional facets of expressing love—a chaotic and complex emotion very different from the serene, idealized sweetness it’s so often portrayed as being.
There are countless instances throughout Romeo and Juliet in which love and violence are connected. After their marriage, Juliet imagines in detail the passion she and Romeo will share on their wedding night, and invokes the Elizabethan characterization of orgasm as a small death or “petite mort”—she looks forward to the moment she will “die” and see Romeo’s face reflected in the stars above her. When Romeo overhears Juliet say that she wishes he were not a Montague so that they could be together, he declares that his name is “hateful” and offers to write it down on a piece of paper just so he can rip it up and obliterate it—and, along with it, his very identity, and sense of self as part of the Montague family. When Juliet finds out that her parents, ignorant of her secret marriage to Romeo, have arranged for her to marry Paris , she goes to Friar Laurence’s chambers with a knife, threatening to kill herself if he is unable to come up with a plan that will allow her to escape her second marriage. All of these examples represent just a fraction of the instances in which language and action conspire to render love as a “violent delight” whose “violent ends” result in danger, injury, and even death. Feeling oneself in the throes of love, Shakespeare suggests, is tumultuous and destabilizing enough—but the real violence of love, he argues, emerges in the many ways of expressing love.
Emotional and verbal expressions of love are the ones most frequently deployed throughout the play. Romeo and Juliet wax poetic about their great love for each other—and the misery they feel as a result of that love—over and over again, and at great lengths. Often, one of their friends or servants must cut them off mid-speech—otherwise, Shakespeare seems to suggest, Romeo and Juliet would spend hours trying to wrestle their feelings into words. Though Romeo and Juliet say lovely things about one another, to be sure, their speeches about each other, or about love more broadly, are almost always tinged with violence, which illustrates their chaotic passion for each other and their desire to mow down anything that stands in its way. When Romeo, for instance, spots Juliet at her window in the famous “balcony scene” in Act 2, Scene 2, he wills her to come closer by whispering, “Arise, fair sun ”—a beautiful metaphor of his love and desire for Juliet—and quickly follows his entreaty with the dangerous language “and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief.” Juliet’s “sun”-like radiance makes Romeo want her to “kill” the moon (or Rosaline ,) his former love and her rival in beauty and glory, so that Juliet can reign supreme over his heart. Later on in the play, when the arrival of dawn brings an end to Romeo and Juliet’s first night together as man and wife, Juliet invokes the symbol of a lark’s song—traditionally a symbol of love and sweetness—as a violent, ill-meaning presence which seeks to pull Romeo and Juliet apart, “arm from arm,” and “hunt” Romeo out of Juliet’s chambers. Romeo calls love a “rough” thing which “pricks” him like a thorn; Juliet says that if she could love and possess Romeo in the way she wants to, as if he were her pet bird, she would “kill [him] with much cherishing.” The way the two young lovers at the heart of the play speak about love shows an enormously violent undercurrent to their emotions—as they attempt to name their feelings and express themselves, they resort to violence-tinged speech to convey the enormity of their emotions.
Physical expressions of love throughout the play also carry violent connotations. From Romeo and Juliet’s first kiss, described by each of them as a “sin” and a “trespass,” to their last, in which Juliet seeks to kill herself by sucking remnants of poison from the dead Romeo’s lips, the way Romeo and Juliet conceive of the physical and sexual aspects of love are inextricable from how they conceive of violence. Juliet looks forward to “dying” in Romeo’s arms—again, one Elizabethan meaning of the phrase “to die” is to orgasm—while Romeo, just after drinking a vial of poison so lethal a few drops could kill 20 men, chooses to kiss Juliet as his dying act. The violence associated with these acts of sensuality and physical touch furthers Shakespeare’s argument that attempts to adequately express the chaotic, overwhelming, and confusing feelings of intense passion often lead to a commingling with violence.
Violent expressions of love are at the heart of Romeo and Juliet . In presenting and interrogating them, Shakespeare shows his audiences—in the Elizabethan area, the present day, and the centuries in-between—that love is not pleasant, reserved, cordial, or sweet. Rather, it is a violent and all-consuming force. As lovers especially those facing obstacles and uncertainties like the ones Romeo and Juliet encounter, struggle to express their love, there may be eruptions of violence both between the lovers themselves and within the communities of which they’re a part.
Love and Violence ThemeTracker
Love and Violence Quotes in Romeo and Juliet
Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows, Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first created; O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear, 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. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
You kiss by th’ book.
My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; — Thou art thyself though, not a Montague. What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other word would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name; And for thy name, which is no part of thee, Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word: Call me but love, and I'll be new baptis'd; Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
Good-night, good-night! Parting is such sweet sorrow That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.
Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford No better term than this: thou art a villain.
Romeo: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much. Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.
O, I am fortune's fool!
Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night, Give me my Romeo; and when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of Heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day. It was the nightingale, and not the lark, That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear; Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree. Believe me love, it was the nightingale.
Is there no pity sitting in the clouds That sees into the bottom of my grief? O sweet my mother, cast me not away! Delay this marriage for a month, a week, Or if you do not, make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.
Or bid me go into a new-made grave, And hide me with a dead man in his shroud - Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble - And I will do it without fear or doubt, To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love.
Then I defy you, stars!
O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. — Thus with a kiss I die.
Yea, noise, then I'll be brief; O, happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die.
For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
- Romeo and Juliet Conflict and Violence
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. The story is about the love between two young people from rival families, the Capulets and the Montagues. The play ends tragically, with both Romeo and Juliet taking their own lives.
The play contains a lot of violence and conflict, which is a major part of the story. The characters in Romeo and Juliet are often at odds with each other, and this leads to some heated arguments and fights.
One of the most famous examples of violence in the play is when Romeo kills Tybalt in revenge for killing his friend Mercutio. This act of violence leads to Romeo being banished from Verona, and ultimately leads to the tragic ending of the play.
While violence and conflict are a major part of Romeo and Juliet, they are not the only thing that the play is about. The story is also about love, forgiveness, and redemption. These themes are present throughout the play, even in the midst of all the violence and conflict.
In the end, Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, but it is also a story about the power of love to overcome even the biggest obstacles.
The most essential elements of Shakespeare’s most renowned play Romeo and Juliet are violence and conflict. It may happen in a variety of ways, both through speech and bodily harm. Four major characters die throughout the play, a crowd forms outside Verona Square, and numerous debates ensue. Within Romeo and Juliet, there are several subplots about love, betrayal, and terror.
However, these do not eclipse the violence which takes place. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a play about two young lovers whose deaths eventually unite their feuding families. It is set in Italy during the Renaissance period. The story was based on an Italian poem written by Luigi Da Porto and published in 1530. The original story was adapted by Arthur Brooke and Shakespeare wrote his own version of the story in 1597.
Romeo Montague falls in love with Juliet Capulet, who is due to marry the County Paris, a relative of the Prince of Verona. Romeo gets banished. Juliet fakes her own death in a plan to be reunited. Romeo believes Juliet is truly dead and kills himself. Juliet finds Romeo’s corpse beside her and kills herself. The Prince of Verona exiled Romeo at the beginning of the play for his part in the death of Tybalt. The Montagues and Capulets are forced to end their feud as a result of the tragic events.
The main characters of Romeo and Juliet are:
Romeo – son of Lord Montague, falls in love with Juliet
Juliet – daughter of Lord Capulet, she falls in love with Romeo
Tybalt – nephew of Lady Capulet, he hates all Montagues
Mercutio – Romeo’s best friend, he is killed by Tybalt
Lord Montague – father of Romeo
Lady Montague – mother of Romeo
Lord Capulet – father of Juliet
Lady Capulet – mother of Juliet
County Paris – a relative of the Prince of Verona, he was to marry Juliet
There are many acts of violence and conflict in Romeo and Juliet. In Act 1, Scene 1, the play opens with a fight between the Montagues and the Capulets. This is broken up by the Prince of Verona. The Prince threatens those who break the peace again with death. In Act 3, Scene 1, Mercutio fights Tybalt and is killed. Romeo then kills Tybalt in revenge. As a result of this, Romeo is banished from Verona.
The prologue scene establishes the long-standing grudge between the Montague and Capulet families. This mutual resentment is further amplified by their respective servants, creating an environment of constant fighting.
Even the language used in the play is violent, for example when Tybalt says to Romeo ‘Draw, if you be men.’ This shows that there is a lot of testosterone flying around and people are eager to fight. In the Elizabethan era, it was quite normal to duel but these duels were usually over something important like honour or a woman and not just because two people couldn’t control their tempers.
When Romeo first meets Juliet he says ‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’ This portrays Romeo as being very passionate and impulsive which could be seen as a negative character trait as it leads him into making rash decisions such as marrying Juliet without even knowing her that well.
Juliet is also shown to be quite impulsive in the way she agrees to marry Romeo even though she has only just met him. This could be seen as her being star struck by Romeo’s looks and not really thinking things through. However, it could also be seen as being very romantic as they are both willing to go against their families wishes and get married in secret which shows how much they truly love each other.
Throughout the play, there are various fights between the different characters which often end in someone being killed or wounded. For example, Mercutio is killed by Tybalt under Romeo’s arm and Lady Capulet is so distraught by this that she faints. This just goes to show how much death and violence there is in the play.
The prologue sets the stage for the tragedy that is to come, by telling us that “two star-crossed lovers take their lives.” This creates a sense of suspense and curiosity in the audience, which keeps them engaged throughout the play. The violence and conflict are also key elements of Romeo and Juliet, adding to the tragic story.
Another factor in the violence and conflict is that of the feuding families, the Montague’s and Capulet’s. This has been going on for ‘many years’ and there have been ‘many deaths’. So when Romeo Montague falls in love with Juliet Capulet it is not only frowned upon because they are from different social classes but also because of the long running feud. Even though Romeo tries to reason with his father saying ‘Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’
This does not work as Romeo’s marriage to Juliet would just be seen as a way of mocking the Capulet’s. So the violence and conflict is further exacerbated by the families and their long running feud.
The final factor in the violence and conflict is fate. Throughout the play there are numerous examples of fate interceding and ultimately leading to the tragic ending. For example, when Romeo is banished instead of put to death Tybalt says ‘This shall determine that’ referring to the fact that Romeo being banished will lead to further problems. Another example is when Friar Lawrence decides to marry Romeo and Juliet he says ‘For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your households’ rancour to pure love.’
But of course the opposite happens and the marriage just leads to more violence. So fate seems to be conspiring against Romeo and Juliet from the start and this just adds to the conflict and violence in the play.
In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to the violence and conflict in Romeo and Juliet. The characters, the families and fate all play a part in the tragic events that unfold. Shakespeare uses these factors to create a tense and exciting play that still resonates with audiences today.
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How Does Shakespeare Portray the Theme of Violence in Romeo and Juliet
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Home — Essay Samples — Law, Crime & Punishment — Gang Violence — Gang Violence in Romeo and Juliet, a Play by William Shakespeare
Gang Violence in Romeo and Juliet, a Play by William Shakespeare
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Theme Of Violence In Romeo And Juliet Essay
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‘Romeo and Juliet’, is a tragic love story, by William Shakespeare written in the year 1954. The play is set in the town of Verona in Italy and is concentrated on two characters in which the title is named from ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The story commences with the conflict between the Capulet’s and the Montague’s Prologue – “Two households, both alike in dignity, in Fair Verona, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” The immense grudge between both households is apparent straight from the beginning.
Although violence is very apparent throughout Romeo and Juliet, violence is shown in also a subtle and unspoken way. In the opening scene it starts off with Sampson and Gregory who are from the Capulet household using violent words in a sexual way, speaking amongst each other, Sampson replies to Gregory ‘Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads’ meaning taking the Montague’s maids virginity. Still in act1 scene1 Tybalt says a very important line which is ‘What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montague’s, and thee: Have at thee, coward!
I think it gives the audience the right prospective of Tybalt as he is a violent, non-negotiable character and as hell is portrayed as a sinful, abominable, place, so therefore Tybalt is basically saying he would never be civil with a member of the Montague’s for they are the enemy. In act1 scene5, lines 53-91, the ballroom scene. Capulet is angry at Tybalt for wanting to fight with Romeo. This part of the scene is not immensely violent but brings out more of Tybalts angry character. For example Tybalt says ‘Tis he, that villain Romeo. To which Capulet replies ‘Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone.
Which shows that Capulet is trying to keep the peace at the party by letting Romeo stay, as it was an open invite party to which certain Capulet’s could come. Tybalt is so angry but must do as Capulet says so their family doesn’t fall out, even if that means going against his strong hate towards Romeo and other Montague’s. In act3 scene1, the street fight in Verona, there is no intention of having a fight with the Capulet’s as Benvolio quotes ‘I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire. The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, and, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl; for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
Benvolio is obviously worried that there is going to be a fight and he tries to persuade Mercutio to get away from the streets, saying in these hot days people will become angry and hot-blooded and not back down. Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being scared to fight. ‘Thou art like one of these fellows that, when he enters the confines of a tavern, claps me his sword upon the table, and says ‘god send me no need of thee’; and by the operation of the second cup draws him on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
By saying this Mercutio means that Benvolio is like the type of men that slam their swords down on the table and pray to never use it in a violent manner. Soon Benvolio is feeling highly irate and soon spots the capulets ‘By my head, here comes the Capulets. ‘ Tybalt comes looking for Romeo and soon Mercutio starts taunting Tybalt, at first Tybalt tries to ignore Mercutio as it is Romeo he is looking for. Benvolio tries telling them to get out of sight of people as they’ll all be punished if anything was to commence.
Soon Romeo is spotted and yet refuses to fight Tybalt because they are officially family because of his marriage to Juliet. Romeo shows us in this scene that his love for Juliet is so strong he is even willing to love his enemy Tybalt. Because of this Mercutio says to Romeo and then Tybalt ‘O calm dishonourable, vile submission! ‘Alla stoccata’ carries it away. Tybalt, you rat catcher, will you walk with me? ‘ This shows us that Mercutio seems to want to fight with Tybalt. They draw. And as Romeo tries to break them up, Tybalt reaches under Romeo’s arm and stabs Mercutio. Mercutio is dead.
In this part of the scene, you see Romeo’s violent, vicious side of him as he starts fighting with Tybalt even though he is family and knowing that his actions will hurt Juliet, rage and anger takes over him and at full force Romeo beats down and kills Tybalt. In Friar Lawrence’s cell. Romeo finds out that he is to be banished for killing Tybalt. He is distraught at this thought and tells the friar that being banished is the same as death to him. Without Juliet he is nothing. ‘There is no world without the Verona walls. ‘ By saying this he is telling us he would use violence on himself if he had to go without his beloved Juliet.
This may not be interoperated as violence as such, but maybe violent love, as we witness now that Romeo would do anything and everything for Juliet even die for his love for her. In act3 scene 5, lines 103 – end, Juliet’s bedroom. When Juliet’s mother enters the room and sees her tears she assumes they are for the deceased Tybalt. But little does Lady Capulet know that Romeo has just bidding farewell to his sweet wife. So she tells Juliet to stop grieving the most important feature of Juliet’s speech in this scene is ambiguity or double meanings.
When Lady Capulet says that Romeo; by killing Tybalt, has caused Juliet’s grief, she agrees that Romeo has made her sad, and that she would like to get her hands on him. By placing one word – “dead” – between two sentences, Juliet makes her mother think she wants Romeo dead, while really saying that her heart is dead because of him. .Then lady Capulet says ‘we will have vengeance for it, fear thou not:’ so here Lady Capulet is showing the rivalry and hatred between the Montague’s and Capulets. Showing that just because one of the Capulets has been murdered there has to be revenge on the Montague’s.
By this we can tell that the Capulet’s think they have to be even with the Montague’s so if violence is forced upon them they must fight back and not sort it out civilly. They must get even through violence. Capulet contrasts Paris’s merits as a husband with Juliet’s immature objections. He says that Paris is “Of fair demesnes, youthful and nobly lined” and “stuffed… with honourable parts”. He calls his daughter a “wretched puling fool” and a “whining mammet”, before sarcastically mimicking her objections to the match: “I cannot love… I am too young”.
The audience knows of course that she can and does love, but it is Romeo she loves and cannot be forced to love another. Also, when Capulet becomes angry, he uses language inventively – so the adjective proud becomes both verb and noun: “proud me no prouds”. And finally, he reminds us of his power over Juliet by speaking of her as if she were a thoroughbred horse, which he can sell at will – “fettle your fine joints”, he says, meaning that she must prepare herself for marriage. claims that Juliet is proud: she insists that she is not, and Capulet repeats the word as evidence of her “chopt-logic” or splitting hairs.
These insults may seem mild or funny today, but were far more forceful in the 16th Century: “green-sickness carrion”, “tallow-face”, “baggage… wretch” and “hilding”. The grave yard in Verona. At the start of this scene Paris is visiting Juliet’s grave. At this time Romeo enters the graveyard, Paris hears him coming and hides in the darkness. After Romeo has started to open the coffin of Juliet Paris pops out and blames Romeo for killing Juliet’ cousin and that he shouldn’t be here because he is banished. Paris shows violence towards Romeo by calling him a ‘vile Montague.
This shows that Paris shows Romeo no mercy because he is a Montague. Romeo says to Paris ‘put not another sin on my head, by urging me to fury: O be gone! ‘ By this he means that he doesn’t want Paris to temp him to commit another crime. Or in other words, killing him. But Paris still encourages him, so he and Romeo fight a pointless fight. Showing the audience that they still have a lot hate for each other’s families even after Juliet, the girl who they both loved had just ‘died. ‘ When Romeo eventually kills Paris, Paris says that he wants die next to Juliet.
This shows the audience that Paris actually did have a heart and may have even loved Juliet as much as Romeo did. So Romeo then laid Paris next to Juliet and then begins to make a long speech for Juliet. In this he apologises to the deceased Tybalt. Now he is starting to realise just what he has done because it’s resulted in his only love being ‘dead. ‘ So he drinks the poison and lies next to Juliet and dies. This self-inflicted violence shocks the audience and shows that Romeo acted very dramatically to Juliet’s death. He didn’t think about any consequences of his violent actions throughout the whole play including this one.
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