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The Shakespeare's Portrait of the Theme of Conflict throughout the Play Romeo and Juliet

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‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a play written by William Shakespeare during the 16th century. The concept of conflict is expressed in several aspects of the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, often by physical violence, mirrored in the Renaissance period, where international instability existed and many European nations were at war. Conflict is the core focus of the whole play in this case and Shakespeare portrays it in several different forms. Conflict, for example, is seen not only in action but also in language. This essay will be based on how Shakespeare portrays the theme on conflict in the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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The theme of conflict is immediately introduced in the play’s Prologue and at the beginning of the play. We are told that the families are both of equal status and have an ‘ancient grudge’ which indicates the rivalry that has been going on for several years between the capulets and the montagues. We are told the fight is going to ‘break to new mutiny’ and are being informed of their deaths through ‘parents rage.’ Romeo and Juliet are represented as ‘a pair of star- lovers’ telling the viewer that nothing will alter their fate which is also another element of conflict. From the opening of the play when ‘[Sampson and Gregory [enter] with weapons and bucklers … [in] a public place]’ the tension between violence and harmony is evident. This shows us why the Capulet family is more abusive than the Montague family; that can also be seen from the Capulet family’s use of words: ‘A dog of the house of Montague moves me’. In Act 1, Scene 1 Benvolio attempts to preserve harmony while Tybalt ‘hates the word,’ Tybalt does not hate the term ‘peace’ literally, but hates the connotations of the word put into action. When the Prince joins to avoid the fight between Tybalt and Benvolio, there is a need for violence in order to keep the peace and this reveals a sort of irony. To explain the pointless battle between Tybalt and Benvolio, the Prince uses animalistic terminology: ‘You beasts.’ Shakespeare decided to start the play with a violent scene in order to highlight the ‘ancient grudge’ between the households.

The use of language and inner conflict is used in several forms to portray conflict. Romeo’s announcement of his affection for Rosaline includes combat terms such as ‘siege’ and ‘well armed.’ He often uses oxymorons like ‘loving hate’ to describe the conflict between the two families and his unrequited love from Rosaline. Juliet is having inner conflict in Act 3, scene 5, when Romeo prepares to depart for Manutua; she is anxious for Romeo to stay: ‘Wilt thou be gone gone … It was the nightingale, not the lark,’ and the reader understands that it was the lark, and so they are compelled to share in their inner struggle.

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The Shakespeare’s Portrait of the Theme of Conflict throughout the Play Romeo and Juliet. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-shakespeares-portrait-of-the-theme-of-conflict-throughout-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
“The Shakespeare’s Portrait of the Theme of Conflict throughout the Play Romeo and Juliet.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-shakespeares-portrait-of-the-theme-of-conflict-throughout-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
The Shakespeare’s Portrait of the Theme of Conflict throughout the Play Romeo and Juliet. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-shakespeares-portrait-of-the-theme-of-conflict-throughout-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/> [Accessed 5 Feb. 2023].
The Shakespeare’s Portrait of the Theme of Conflict throughout the Play Romeo and Juliet [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Feb 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-shakespeares-portrait-of-the-theme-of-conflict-throughout-the-play-romeo-and-juliet/
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