Romeo and Juliet is a classic play by William Shakespeare about a pair of star-crossed lovers whose passion eventually drives them to their unfortunate deaths.
Key themes in Romeo and Juliet:
- Historical time vs present
- Light and dark
- Fate and free will
- Youth against age
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Since the major theme in Romeo and Juliet is Love as a Cause of Violence, it is easy to see why Shakespeare uses that thematic focus to show how Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another affected the outcome of their relationship. Most of the time, being in love makes people very over dramatic. When they lose someone they love, certain people tend to think that their lives are over and they can’t go on. This happens a lot in Romeo and Juliet.
For example, when Romeo is exiled from Verona, he overreacts completely and goes to complain to the Friar. He says that being banished is just saying death by another name. He whines and utters that he would rather die than be away from his dear Juliet. Also, after Romeo is rejected by his first love Rosaline, he thinks that there is no one else in the world that can ever compare to her, even though he falls in love with Juliet shortly after. Another example of this over dramatic behavior was when Juliet heard news of Romeo’s banishment. She considered Romeo’s banishment even worse than her own cousin’s death!
Over dramatic behavior is just one of the things that makes love turn into violence. This play also demonstrates the effect love can have on decision making. Love can be very blinding especially in Romeo and Juliet’s case. They both made many rash and dangerous choices because their love clouded their ability to think wisely. An example of one of these rash, terrible decisions was when Romeo bought the poison from a pharmacist/apothecary. He should have considered all of his options before immediately jumping to the conclusion that he had to kill himself.
This theme also came up when Juliet stated, “I long to die if what thou speak’st speak not of remedy. ” (Shakespeare, Act IIII Scene I) She said this to Friar Lawrence complaining that if he can’t find her a way out of marrying Paris, she will kill herself. This is significant because it shows how her love for Romeo made her think violently, even though she didn’t follow through with what she said she would do. Lastly, Juliet stabbing herself with Romeo’s dagger at the end of the play showed how being without Romeo was unthinkable for her.
Finally, the reoccurring theme of Love as a Cause of Violence is mainly in this play because without it, the audience underestimates the true power of Romeo and Juliet’s love for one another. The theme is what caused the dramatic, tragic ending to the play Romeo and Juliet. The double suicide was what ended the conflict between the two feuding families and showed how love is the source of all or most of the violence that occurs in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet aren’t the only ones who died because of love either.
Lady Montague died of grieving for her banished son whom she loved exceedingly, and Tybalt died because Romeo killed him out of rage from losing his beloved best friend Mercutio. As you can see, the main theme of Love as a Cause of Violence is prevalent throughout the entire play of Romeo and Juliet. The power that love contains works in many different ways. In The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, love causes overly dramatic behavior, lack of quality judgment, and most of all, particularly violent actions and thoughts by the main and minor characters.
Death and hate
Death is all over Romeo and Juliet. Even before the game set the tone after Mercutio's death, Shakespeare repeatedly mentioned the death as Juliet's boyfriend. The threat of violence that penetrates the first actions occurs in the second half of the game, when key characters die and the title lovers reach the terrible end.
There are many ways that the characters of Romeo and Juliet take into account death. Romeo, III. He tries to commit suicide as a cowardly act in the action, but when he calls a pharmacist in the V action, this is a sign of strength and solidarity. The choir tragically finishes the story at the start of the comedy, which reinvigorates the audience's experience: we know that this young and innocent love will end with the tragedy.
The structure of the comedy as a tragedy from the very beginning makes Romeo and Juliet's love even more crazy, because the public is aware of their upcoming deaths. The path in the game is a cycle from love to death, and that's what makes Romeo and Juliet so durable and strong.
Romeo and Juliet argue that the desire for revenge is both natural and destructive human quality. From the moment the game turned into disaster on the third act, most of the terrible events were caused by revenge. Tybalt calls Romeo and kills Mercutio because of an unstable request to avenge Romeo's presence at the masquerade, and Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge Mercutio.
Romeo's desire for revenge is so great that he doesn't think of how his attack on Tybalt would jeopardize his last marriage with Juliet. Of course, the main production of the game depends on the long-running feud between Montec and Capulet, the cause of which no longer matters.
The only thing that matters is that these families continue to avenge the troubles that have been forgotten for generations. Although Harespeare is rarely morally, Romeo and Juliet always represent revenge as a meaningless act that does more harm than good.
Youth against age
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare establishes an ideological division that often separates young people from adults. All comedy characters can be classified by young, passionate or older, for more details. It is defined by its energies and impulsiveness such as Romeo, Julieta, Mercutio and Tebaldo. Meanwhile, the dynamic old world serves politics and opportunities.
Capulet and Patriarch Montague are undoubtedly enthusiastic competitions, but victories that ignore their emotional potential. Although apparently representing the interests of Romeo and Juliet, Fra Laurence is able to see the political causes of the troops, young lovers are only interested in satisfying their quickly called hearts.
Although Shakespeare does not advocate morality for the distinction between young and old, he appears during the game and is inevitably the cause of cynicism with age. . There is also a reason why young lovers try to separate them from the world of "adult violence" and political change.
How Does Shakespeare Present the Theme of Love in Romeo and Juliet
Sexual love is used in this play as comic relief between the serious parts, as an ice-breaker and to keep the audience entertained. Shakespeare included sexual love in this play because at the time, the audience for whom he’d be performing wouldn’t be very educated and including this would grab their attention straight away Sexual love is the first type of love displayed in this play. You meet two Capulet servants, Sampson and Gregory in the first scene. They are talking about women as sexual objects and nothing more.
Sampson is talking about how he will ‘be cruel with the maids’ once he has taken care of the men, and how he ‘will cut off’ their ‘maidenheads’. He is talking about raping the wives of the men he has killed, referring to their virginities as their heads. He is also very generous about himself, suggesting that his penis is “a pretty piece of flesh’ and that women will be able to feel him while he is ‘able to stand’, meaning that he’s having an erection against the women.
This is very sexual because to feel a man’s erection, you have to be very close to him and he has to be practically grinding against you, and be turned on by you. While they only see women as objects of lust, sexual love is not only relatable to men; women can be just as sexually-minded. In this play, Shakespeare does have a lot of sexual-orientated characters but one of the most amusing ones is possibly Juliet’s nurse. She finds a way to make everything she says sound suggestive when most people wouldn’t be able to.
She may get it from her late husband, who was just as inappropriate as her, telling a three year old that she ‘will fall backwards when thou hast more wit’ which basically translates to him telling her that when she gets older she’ll know to lie backwards so a man can lie on top of her, which is completely senseless to say to a child. On the other hand, it is more likely Nurse was just always like that. Nurse seems to think that the only important thing to consider in a marriage is sex, saying that Juliet should ‘seek happy nights to happy days’ as if a good sex life is the key to having a happy marriage.
She also has the skill to twist things that seem perfectly innocent into a sexual innuendo. Nurse also says that ‘women grow by men’ which is a double entendre of that women grow in status when they marry the right men, but Nurse is saying that they also grow pregnant and sex is a very important factor in a good and healthy marriage. Romeo and Mercutio also have the tendency to be sexually minded. Mercutio refers to Rosaline, the girl Romeo thinks he’s in love with as ‘medlar’, a rude way to refer to a woman’s or a man’s sexual anatomy and he also talks about Romeo as if he was ‘a poperin pear’ which is a pear shaped like a penis.
Mercutio is very crude and sexual throughout this entire speech. Romeo, while you don’t see him being sexually orientated throughout the book, does have his moments away from the spiritual plains of love. He sneaks out to meet Juliet and is hoping that ‘her vestal livery is but sick and green’ and that she should ‘cast it off’ because ‘none but fools do wear it’. By saying this, he’s implying that he hopes she will not remain a virgin because he wants to marry her and have sex with her.
While this isn’t quite as bad as the long speeches that Nurse and Mercutio make, it is still slightly sexual which shows that even people as spiritually inclined as Romeo can be orientated this way. Surprisingly, Juliet also has her moments even though she is very young. When Juliet is about to leave Romeo, Romeo inquires whether she will really leave him ‘so unsatisfied’. Not realising that he’s merely talking about keeping her forever through the gift of marriage, and thinking he’s asking her if she’ll really leave him without having sex, she immediately asks ‘what satisfaction canst thou have tonight’.
She immediately jumps to the conclusion that he was asking for sex before even considering the other options. Shakespeare includes this because it shows that anyone can have sexual thoughts about another, even someone like Juliet who appears to be so innocent and young. Sexual love, while present throughout the play is not the only love explored by Shakespeare in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Courtly love is also present, but only in the beginning of the play. At the time ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was set, courtly love was very popular and many poets were using it, thus including it in the play was making the play very fashionable for its time.
Romeo is the character that feels courtly love for Rosaline, meaning that his love for her in unrequited but he seems to love her anyway. The first time you meet Romeo he is pining over Rosaline because ‘she’ll not be hit with cupid’s arrow’ and won’t return his feelings for her. He is acting very pathetic and spewing out long speeches full of oxymorons and rhyming couplets, making it very obvious that he’s practiced what he’s going to say because people don’t go around just talking in rhyming couplets and oxymorons. His long speeches have a rather pathetic ending.
He has put together very fashionable, lengthy spiels full of oxymorons about ‘loving hate’ and ‘heavy lightness’. When Benvolio finally comprehends and asks him ‘who is that’ Romeo loves, Romeo quite pathetically admits that he does ‘love a woman’. This declaration is a rather meager way to sum up all he’s spent hours preparing while privately ‘in his chamber’ and wandering around in the woods ‘many a morning’. Throughout most of his speeches he isn’t giving a proper answer to any of Benvolio’s questions. He keeps giving Benvolio very vague responses in an attempt to make Benvolio question more.
Romeo is coercing people to worry about him more than necessary by pretending that the situation is more confusing than it is. After his long oxymoron-filled speech he asked Benvolio ‘Dost thou not laugh’, wanting Benvolio to worry about him and to give him attention. As in true courtly love fashion, Romeo is enamored with Rosaline and will do anything to see her. Benvolio, a true friend, tries to make Romeo see sense that there are ‘other beauties’ in the world and Romeo should ‘examine’ them and forget about Rosaline.
However, Romeo won’t hear of it and attempts to convince Benvolio that he ‘canst not teach’ Romeo ‘to forget’ how beautiful Rosaline is and how much he loves her. Although Romeo’s courtly interests are mostly kept to the first few scenes of the play, the Friar does bring it up later on, saying that ‘thy love did read by rote, that could not spell’. The Friar is explaining to Romeo that Romeo knew the way that people were supposed to act when they were madly in love and he was simply pretending to be in love when he wasn’t, which is what courtly love is.
Another type of love showcased in this play is Romantic love, and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the most famous romantic plays ever written. In the play, I think that Shakespeare presents the love between Romeo and Juliet as very artificial. He shows it through their first meeting, Juliet’s inexperience, Romeo’s attitude and the attitude of Romeo’s friends. Romeo and Juliet’s conversation forms a sonnet when they first meet. This is the first conversation they have and before he even hears her speak, he refers to her as a ‘shrine’, invoking the deepest religious love for her.
Romeo is flattering her to get her to fall for him. Before he even knows who she is, he asks to ‘smooth that rough touch’ that is his ‘unworthiest hand’ with a kiss. She immediately counters that by telling him ‘you do wrong your hand too much’. She’s trying to tell him that there is nothing wrong with his hand, and he doesn’t need to kiss her. Finally he asks outright for her to ‘let lips do what hands do’, showing he’s rather desperate to get to kiss her. Juliet says in return that she isn’t going to move and that he can kiss her, but that she won’t kiss him.
Their conversation does form a sonnet, but Juliet is just playing along with Romeo because he’s the one that initiated the conversation in rhyme and she’s simply joining in. She is attracted to him, but she’s not just going to give in to his desperation. He has to work for the right to kiss her. After the kiss, Juliet is understandably very taken aback, considering she is quite inexperienced and this is her first kiss. She tells him that ‘you kiss by th’ book’, showing that Juliet only knows what love is like in books and fairytales and she’s comparing her feelings about Romeo to that.
It is arguable that this is not real romance. I think that the best evidence for the idea that the romantic love displayed in this play is artificial is the attitude of Romeo. When we first meet him he is obviously enamoured with Rosaline, but sees this beautiful girl that removes any thought of Rosaline from his mind. This is superficial because he doesn’t know anything about Juliet, he doesn’t even know her name and yet he’s certain that he loves her, saying ‘did my heart love till now’, when just moments before he had been professing his undying devotion to someone completely different.
When Romeo attempts to talk Friar Lawrence into marrying him to Juliet, Friar Lawrence remains unconvinced, saying that ‘these woes were all for Rosaline’. Romeo insists, illogically, that his love for Juliet is real because she loves him back and Rosaline ‘did not so’. He says that even though he was going on and on about her, she’s old news and he no longer loves her because he’s found someone better. I don’t think He really loves Juliet because her prettiness is the only reason he ever spoke to her and it is reasonable to believe that if he sees someone prettier he might forget all about her.
Even Romeo’s friends know that he’s being pathetic. Mercutio actually makes fun of him for spewing out all the rhyming poems which really don’t have any semblance towards true love by saying ‘speak but one rhyme and I am satisfied’. Mercutio is certain that this will all be over soon. Before the party Mercutio tries to cheer Romeo up with his big ‘Queen Mab’ speech, showing that he wants Romeo to be happy. We trust Mercutio because he is a very likeable character.
Benvolio, who has been primarily concerned with Romeo’s wellbeing throughout the play so far, is certain Romeo will move on and ‘examine other beauties’. We trust Benvolio’s opinion because he shows the most direct concern about Romeo and even he seems to think that this is all a phase. Before Balthasar brings Romeo news of Juliet’s death, Romeo is very happy because he has had a dream about Juliet which is the ‘flattering truth of sleep’. This is very similar to his dream in an earlier scene about Rosaline, which was about ‘things true’, being how much he loves Rosaline.
Referring to both Rosaline and Juliet by using the word ‘true’ makes it plausible that he is just being as over-dramatically ecstatic about a dream about Juliet as he was depressed over a dream about Rosaline before the party in which he saw Juliet. I think that this makes us doubt his sincerity because he is using the same story about a dream for both girls. When Romeo finds out about Juliet’s supposed death, he doesn’t even stop to think, which proves that he doesn’t consider the possibilities of his actions. He immediately goes to buy ‘a dram of poison’ so he ‘may fall dead’ by Juliet’s side.
In my opinion, for a girl that he hasn’t even spent a full day with, this seems like a very rash decision. Juliet, waking up and finding Romeo dead beside her also kills herself with a dagger after trying to take the poison off his lips so she will ‘die with a restorative’ but when that proves to be a failure, stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger. She is allowed a little more leeway, being very young and traumatised at finding her new husband dead on top of her and is likely to be very dramatic. They barely know each other and yet they kill themselves over the premise of ‘true love’.
I think that the real tragedy in this play is not that true lovers are forced to kill themselves to be together but that two young and healthy people with long lives ahead of them kill themselves over miscommunication and feelings that ultimately end up to be an over exaggeration of two hormonal teenagers! Parental love, whilst a minor aspect of love in this play, is still very present. Neither Juliet nor Romeo have very close relationships with their parents and seek out parental advice in the forms of Nurse and Friar Lawrence. Romeo does get along with his parents and they do love him.
When you first meet the Montagues after a large street fight, his mother expresses her relief that Romeo ‘was not at this fray’, showing that she is concerned about his physical wellbeing. His father is obviously concerned about Romeo’s mental state at the fact that Romeo is currently wandering around by himself ‘many a morning’ and stays ‘private in his chamber’ during the day, cutting himself off from everyone else. After the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, when the Capulets and Montagues have realised what happened, we find out that Montague’s ‘wife is dead tonight’ because the ‘grief of’ her ‘son’s exile hath stopped her breath’.
This makes it obvious that the Montagues really do love their son, but don’t have a strong connection with him because he never talked to them about what was troubling him. Even though Romeo and his parents are emotionally close to each other, they do not communicate with each other well and to show this Shakespeare does not put one scene in this play in which Romeo directly interacts with his parents. This shows that while they are family, they don’t really rely on each other to help out.
Instead of questioning Romeo about his actions himself, his parents send Benvolio, Romeo’s friend and cousin, which shows that Romeo is more likely to confide in Benvolio than in his own parents. Romeo, instead of going to his parents for advice, goes to Friar Lawrence for parental help. The Friar knows what’s going on in Romeo’s life more than the parents do. It is normally a parent’s job to chide their children but Romeo says to Friar that ‘thou chid’st me oft for loving Rosaline’ which means that the Friar has taken on the responsibility of telling Romeo off about Rosaline, whom Romeo has not even told his parents about.
Juliet’s predicament with her parents is similar as they also love her very much. When Paris, a suitable young man, requests Juliet’s hand in marriage, Lord Capulet thinks Juliet ‘is yet a stranger in this world’ and tells Paris to come back in ‘two more summers’. That Lord Capulet doesn’t want to marry her off so young even to such a suitable person shows that he really cares for Juliet’s well-being. When Juliet is mourning the banishment of Romeo, Lord Capulet decides to throw her a party to take her mind of what he thinks is an over-reaction of Tybalt’s death.
He agrees to make ‘a desperate tender’ and allow her to marry Paris, hoping that this will cheer her up. He does this because he had Juliet’s best interests at heart and just wanted to please her and make her happy again, by giving her a large party and lots of attention. After Juliet is found supposedly dead, Lady Capulet gets very upset, saying that if Juliet does not ‘look up’ than Lady Capulet ‘will die with thee’. Both the Capulets genuinely love their daughter, calling her their ‘only life’ when she is found dead. Like Romeo, Juliet’s parents don’t communicate with her well.
They don’t understand her emotions and don’t know how to speak to her effectively. When Lady Capulet wishes to speak privately with Juliet she asks Nurse to leave but the minute she is left alone with Juliet she calls Nurse ‘back again’. Since Lady Capulet didn’t raise Juliet and Nurse did, Lady Capulet would feel more comfortable if Nurse is in the room because she is unsure of how to talk to her own daughter. When Juliet is distraught after Romeo’s banishment, they assume she is upset over Tybalt’s death because ‘she loved her kinsman Tybalt dearly’.
Instead of asking her what is wrong, they automatically think that she is upset over Tybalt, which shows miscommunication. Like Romeo has the Friar, Juliet has Nurse whom she trusts with her personal life. Nurse is the only one Juliet tells about Romeo, and ‘did send the Nurse’ to get information out of Romeo about the wedding. She trusted her Nurse with this part of her life that she didn’t tell her parents about. Friendly love in this play is possibly the only love that is not somewhat superficial and fake. Primarily, we see friendly love being expressed amongst Romeo and his friends.
Benvolio is the most open about how much he cares for Romeo’s well-being. He expresses his concern to Romeo directly, wondering ‘what sadness lengthens Romeo’s hours’. Even though Benvolio is certain that he would sooner ‘die in debt’ than Romeo not forget his love for Rosaline, he is troubled that Romeo is upset in the moment. When Romeo is missing after the party Benvolio goes searching for him accompanied by Mercutio and is anxious that Mercutio ‘wilt anger him’ by insulting Romeo about Rosaline, even though Benvolio agrees ith him and Romeo arguably deserves it. This shows that Benvolio really does care about Romeo and doesn’t wish for him to be upset over anything. Mercutio shows his concern for Romeo in a different way, although he still makes it obvious that he cares. When Romeo is depressed with ‘a soul of lead’ before the party, Mercutio wants to cheer him up. When Romeo insists that he ‘dreamt a dream’, Mercutio picks up on that straight away and begins to make fun of Romeo in a jovial way, saying ‘and so did I’.
Romeo asks what Meructio’s dream was, giving Mercutio the perfect opening for his ‘Queen Mab’ speech, which is a jokey speech about a fairy queen so he can lighten Romeo’s mood and also point out that ‘dreamers often lie’. At the end Romeo tries to insist that Mercutio ‘talk’st of nothing’, to which Mercutio replies ‘true, I talk of dreams’, which is another way of telling Romeo to lighten up and enjoy the party without focusing on his dreams. This shows Mercutio cares because he just wants Romeo to have a good time and move on with his life without focusing on the past.
When Tybalt is calling Romeo ‘a villain’ and Romeo is not standing up for himself, Mercutio gets very angry on Romeo’s behalf and gets into a fight with Tybalt that kills him. Even though Mercutio was in a rather restless mood that day because of the weather, I find it hard to believe that he would fight Tybalt without a reason. It is plausible that he was just using Romeo as an excuse but the fact that Mercutio is so concerned about Romeo’s honour that he will fight for him, makes Mercutio a true friend.
Even though Balthasar is Romeo’s servant, he does have his moments of showing true friendship and concern for Romeo. Balthasar is the only person Romeo trusts other than Friar to tell about Juliet and Balthasar keeps Romeo updated about the goings and comings of Verona and of Juliet. Immediately after Juliet’s funeral Balthasar ‘took post to tell it’ to Romeo. Even though Romeo told Balthasar to leave once they got to Juliet’s crypt or he would ‘tear thee joint by joint’, Balthasar stayed behind because he doubted Romeo’s ‘intents’ and feared the way he looked.
This shows true friendship because even faced with the possibility of getting killed by his master, Balthasar remains behind to keep an eye on him. Even Romeo has his moments of being a genuine friend towards his boys, as shown after Mercutio has been fighting with Tybalt. At first along with everyone else he assumes Mercutio is just putting on a show for the audience, sure that ‘the hurt cannot be much’. His certainty that Mercutio will be fine shows his closeness to Mercutio because he refuses to consider the possibility that Mercutio might die.
After finding out that ‘brave Mercutio is dead’, Romeo is absolutely furious and all thoughts of ‘sweet Juliet’ leave his head and all he wants is for ‘fire-eyed fury’ to lead him to kill Tybalt for ‘Mercutio’s soul’. This is once again showing that his grief over Mercutio overwhelms his love for Juliet. Knowing the possible consequences Romeo refuses to let Tybalt ‘go in triumph’ and kills him because Tybalt killed one of Romeo’s closest friends. In conclusion, Shakespeare presents the theme of love in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as mostly artificial.
Romantic love, which is the love most people arguably expect to read about in this play, is very artificial, creating the true tragedy of the play of two people dying for no concrete reason. Sexual love and courtly love are both put on for show. Sexual love is used as comic relief and is not taken seriously and courtly love is only a way of showcasing that romantic love really is artificial. Parental love is real but is strained with no communication so the only genuine form of love expressed successfully in this play is friendly love.
The Theme of Hatred in Romeo and Juliet
The tragedy by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet was written in 1599. The play explores themes such as individuals versus society and hatred. To this day these themes are still used in modern-day productions such as movies, tv shows and other forms of entertainment like musicals. The themes still continue to appeal to audiences today because they relate to real-life situations like in the Elizabethan era but with different circumstances.
The themes/issues explored in Romeo and Juliet include individuals versus society as the young lovers struggle against their respective families because of their relative's feud. Another issue includes the recurring theme of hatred, as Romeo and Juliet’s love is made more intense because of their families' feud, without the theme of hatred Romeo and Juliet would be nowhere near as popular as it is.
Referring to the quote ‘just because everything's different doesn't mean anything has changed’ can be related to the theme individual versus society when Romeo and Juliet become young lovers but their parents who are partaking in a feud don’t care that they are in love and still part take in their feud. Hatred can also be referred back to the quote, for example when Romeo kills Tybalt everything might seem different as someone life has just been taken but the hopeful tone of Romeo and Juliet's relationship from Act II still flows into Act III.
The theme of individual versus society plays a very strong role in the play as the play revolves around the idea that Romeo and Juliet are ignoring society when it comes to them being together. In the Elizabethan era kids around the same age would face the same difficulties as Romeo and Juliet which is why William Shakespeare included the concept of individual versus society to relate to the audience at the time, in the theme Romeo and Juliet play the role of the ‘individual’ while their relatives play the role of the ‘society’.
Referring to the question to the theme of individuals versus society it is explored when Romeo and Juliet become lovers, it might seem like everything is different but nothing has changed when it comes to their relative's hatred towards each other as their feud continues throughout the rest of the play.
The theme of Hatred is mainly focused on the feud between the Montagues and Capulets, as a consequence of the feud suffering and death is also explored within the play. Referring to the question hatred is explored when the feud/hatred still thrives even after Romeo and Juliet fall in love meaning that in the eyes of Romeo and Juliet it seems like everything has changed when they found each other but in reality, nothing has changed as the feud between their families continues to be present.
“I do bite my thumb, sir.” is spoken by Sampson when Abraham asks “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?”, ‘biting your thumb’ is when someone bites and then flicks one's thumb from behind the upper teeth which is the equivalent of flipping someone off in modern times. “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.” is a quote that relates to the theme hatred as Juliet struggles with the conflict between her feelings for Romeo and her knowledge that he is an enemy of her family.
Themes of Romeo and Juliet
Themes of "Romeo and Juliet" Love as a Cause of Violence The themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. The connection between hate, violence, and death seems obvious. But the connection between love and violence requires further investigation. Love, in Romeo and Juliet, is a grand passion, and as such it is blinding; it can overwhelm a person as powerfully and completely as hate can.
The passionate love between Romeo and Juliet is linked from the moment f its inception with death: Tybalt notices that Romeo has crashed the feast and determines to kill him Just as Romeo catches sight of Juliet and falls instantly in love with her. From that point on, love seems to push the lovers closer to love and violence, not farther from it. Romeo and Juliet are plagued with thoughts of suicide, and a willingness to experience it: in Act 3, scene 3, Romeo brandishes a knife in Friar Lawrence's cell and threatens to kill himself after he has been banished from Verona and his love.
Juliet also pulls a knife in order to take her own life in Friar Lawrence's resence Just three scenes later. After Capulet decides that Juliet will marry Paris, Juliet says, "If all else fail, myself have power to die" This theme continues until its inevitable conclusion: double suicide. This tragic choice is the highest, most potent expression of love that Romeo and Juliet can make. It is only through death that they can preserve their love, and their love is so profound that they are willing to end their lives in its defence.
In the play, love emerges as an amoral thing, leading as much to destruction as to happiness. But in its extreme passion, the love that Romeo and Juliet experience also appears so exquisitely beautiful that few would want, or be able, to resist its power. Fate From the beginning, we know that the story of Romeo and Juliet will end in tragedy. We also know that their tragic ends will not result from their own personal defects but from fate, which has marked them for sorrow. Emphasizing fate's control over their destinies, the Prologue tells us these "star-crossed lovers'" relationship is deathmarked.
In Act l, Scene it, as Lord Capulet's servant is searching for someone ho can read the guest list to him, Benvolio and Romeo enters Completely by chance, Capulet's servant meets Romeo and Benvolio, wondering if they know how to read. This accidental meeting emphasizes the importance of fate in the play. Romeo claims it is his "fortune" to read ” indeed, "fortune" or chance has led Capulet's servant to him ” and this scene prepares us for the tragic inevitability of the play. The lovers will be punished not because of flaws within their personalities but because fate is against them.
Ironically, the servant invites Romeo to the Capulet's house, as long as e is not a Montague, to "crush a cup of wine. " Only fate could manufacture this unlikely meeting with Capulet's illiterate servant, as only fate will allow Romeo to trespass into the Capulet's domain and meet Juliet. In Romeo and Juliet, death is everywhere. Even before the play shifts in tone after Mercutio's death, Shakespeare makes several references to death being Juliet's bridegroom. The threat of violence that pervades the first acts manifests itself in the latter half of the play, when key characters die and the titular lovers approach their terrible end.
There are several ways in which the characters in Romeo and Juliet consider death. Romeo attempts suicide in Act Ill as an act of cowardice, but when he seeks out the Apothecary in Act V, it is a sign of strength and solidarity. The Chorus establishes the story's tragic end at the beginning of the play, which colours the audience's experience from the start - we know that this youthful, innocent love will end in tragedy. The structure of the play as a tragedy from the beginning makes Romeo and Juliet's love even more heart breaking because the audience is aware of heir impending deaths.
The Journey of the play is the cycle from love to death - and that is what makes Romeo and Julie so lasting and powerful. Age Throughout Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare establishes the ideological divide that often separates youths from adults. The characters in the play can all be categorized as either young, passionate characters or older, more functional characters. The youthful characters are almost exclusively defined by their energy and impulsiveness - like Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, and Tybalt. Meanwhile, the older characters all view the orld in terms of politics and expediency.
The Capulet and Montague patriarchs are certainly feisty competitors, but think in terms of victory as a concept, ignoring the potential emotional toll of their feud. Friar Laurence, who ostensibly represents Romeo and Juliet's interests, sees their union in terms of its political outcome, while the young lovers are only concerned with satisfying their rapidly beating hearts. While Shakespeare does not posit a moral to the divide between young and old, it appears throughout the play, suggesting that the cynicism that comes with age is one f the many reasons that humans inevitably breed strife amongst themselves.
It also implicitly provides a reason for young lovers to seek to separate themselves from an 'adult' world of political violence and bartering. Revenge Romeo and Juliet suggests that the desire for revenge is both a natural and a devastating human quality. From the moment that the play spirals towards disaster in Act Ill, most of the terrible events are initiated by revenge. Tybalt seeks out Romeo and kills Mercutio from a half-cooked desire for revenge over Romeo's attendance at he masquerade ball, and Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge Mercutio.
Romeo's desire for revenge is so overpowering that he does not pause to think about how his attack on Tybalt will compromise his recent marriage to Juliet. Of course, the basic set-up of the play is contingent on a long-standing feud between the Montagues and Capulets, the cause of which no longer matters. All that matters is that these families have continued to avenge forgotten slights for generations. Though Shakespare rarely, if ever, moralizes, Romeo and Juliet certainly presents revenge as a senseless action
How Does William Shakespeare introduce the themes of love and hate in Romeo and Juliet?
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare shows beautifully constructed language in the Prologue and Act 1:1 to illustrate the love of the `star crossed lovers` and the hatred shared from the Capulet's and the Montague's, the ongoing rivalry over something feeble enough that it doesn't even need to be explained of how it came about. Throughout the play, we see how the love collides with the hate in a way that teaches the two households how imbecilic the situation is. Not only has Shakespeare used elegant language, but he has also used a number of techniques to present the key themes.
The prologue, something that is already usually written as a love poem, has been interpreted in many different ways and as I read the script, I even think of other ways it could be displayed.
The Prologue is traditionally 14 lines long, each line holding roughly 10 syllables each.
"Two households, both alike in dignity."
The Rhyming scheme is A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D, E, F, E, F, G, G (the last lines ending on a rhyming couplet).
There are four sections in the Prologue (traditionally in a sonnet), but Shakespeare has written it in a particular way so that it can be broken down into three sections. The different sections establish different things. The first one introduces the setting of the play
"In fair Verona (where we lay our scene)"
This shows the Prologue as being some sort of a trailer for the play.
The next section familiarizes the plot and also involves some conflict into the story: the hate of the two households mixed with the love of the two teenagers.
"Doth with their death bury their parents' strife."
This automatically throws caution to the audience and turns Romeo and Juliet from a regular play, into a love tragedy. Shakespeare allegedly wrote 37 plays and they have been broken down into three categories: Comedy, Historical and Tragedy. Tragedy is very affective because of the dramatic effects that can be produced from it. Shakespeare was masterful at involving different dramatic effects through techniques. A key contrast of tragedy and comedy is that the tragedy's main characters are often portrayed as very heroic and selfless ones, as to add the sense of seriousness to the script, whereas with his comedy plays, this of course did not matter.
One of Shakespeare's techniques can be easily found in the Prologue and is reoccurring in Act 1:1 is the use of Oxymorons. An oxymoron is a phrase, usually two words placed next to each other in a sentence where the two words are usually contradictory. Oxymoron is an oxymoron in itself, for the oxy is Greek for sharp and moron is Greek for dull. An example of an oxymoron in the Prologue is:
"The fearful passage of their death-marked love"
The final section of the Prologue states that the decease of the "star-crossed lovers" that are Romeo and Juliet is the only way to end the rivalry.
"Which but their children's end nought could remove."
The final three lines of this tantalising opening to the play are talking directly to the audience:
"The which if you with patient ears attend."
This enforces the idea of the Prologue being a trailer even more.
The originally chorus spoken Prologue has been interpreted in many different ways.
In Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version, the film opens with the Prologue being narrated. This is delivered calmly, as to give the fight as more of an jolt to the audience afterwards.
Baz Luhrmann first presents the Prologue as a news report. This gives off a modern day equivalent of the Prologue, showing instantly how Luhrmann has decided to direct the film. After the news report, the prologue is repeated as an over voice. The voice gives off the same omniscient feel as in Franco Zeffirelli's version as it has been placed in the hands of Friar Lawrence. This is a cleverly picked character, as it is one who has an alliance with God, and therefore appears even more Godly.
The Prologue is such a crucial element to the script, as it outlines the entire play and foreshadows future events; therefore the way different productions have presented is very important.
Act 1:1 starts with Samson and Gregory in `a public place`, acting jokily and being troublesome. This is apparent from when `two serving men` from the house of Montague enter.
Different interpretations of the characters entrances symbolize what the directors see the characters as. In Luhrmann's version, the Montague's and Capulet's are described as the "boys" giving the sense that the rivalry and arguments of the two households are pretty petty and childish.
The `Montague Boys` act in a childish way themselves, which creates a great contrast to the other, deadly serious half of the scene. It also makes a huge contrast to the Capulets when they enter. Their characters are shown as unsympathetic, merciless and ruthless men. Luhrmann again represents the modern day version by setting the fight in a petrol station.
Zeffirelli's version is much more minimalist. The entire scene is set in a market, where Sampson and Gregory and striding through arrogantly. As the two households meet eyes, each character's obnoxiousness increases.
"Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?" "I do bite my thumb, sir."
This quarrel between Abram and Sampson opens the argument, unraveling the entire scene.
Benvolio (a Montague), enters an argument and as Tybalt confronts, the fight commences. It is soon called to a halt, as the Prince arrives and attempts to make himself heard. Again, in this speech, Shakespeare uses something similar to an oxymoron - an antithesis. This is where the opposite words aren't necessarily placed together. He uses this is in the first line of his speech:
"Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace."
"Profaners of this neighbor-stained steel"
This is referring to their swords.
This measly attempt to end a fight that has developed so greatly has failed, and so he tries again. Here we find another technique of Shakespeare.
"Purple fountains issuing from your veins"
Here he has used `fountains` as a metaphor for blood. A fountain, where water is provided, water is a traditional symbol of the source of life, so a fountain of blood is now transformed into an image of horror. Shakespeare also describes the quarreling households as `beasts` to denote his anger and how confused he is of such beastliness of them (this emotion is greatly shared with Romeo later in the play).
"Throw your mistemper'd weapons to the ground."
The weapons are "mistempered" in the sense that they are angry, that is, used by angry men.
In the Prince's speech, we encounter the first talk of past encounters of Montague and Capulet:
"Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets."
The "disturbance" has prevented any peace for the two households, but throughout the entire play there is not any word of how the disturbance came about to begin with. However, there are clues as to what it could be. For example, there is a running theme of religion throughout the play, with the powerful character of Father Laurence and the religious attitudes of the households, with the church being a reoccurring set; could religion be the reason for the rivalry?
When the fight had been calmed by the Prince and when the air was cleared, Lady Montague asked:
"O where is Romeo? Saw you him today?"
Romeo, one who has not been involved in this `quarrel` in anyway, is still pining over his current love: Rosaline. As Romeo enters the scene, he is filled with love. As he talks with Benvolio, thoroughly disappointed with the fight that had just occurred, through Shakespeare, oxymorons are reintroduced. Romeo does not comprehend the ongoing rivalry, the torment and hatred and so he says:
"Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health"
This is poetically used to contrast the household's violence to his love for Rosaline. As the plot moves on, the love for Rosaline is replaced by Juliet, where the love is much greater, and as the love grows, uncannily, the rivalry grows at the same scale. The theme of Romeo's hastiness is clear as he jumps from love to love, and again clear as he rushes into marriage with Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet has such a big mixture of emotions because it has three excessive themes that all join in together ruining the paths of each character. These themes are: tragedy, romance and rivalry and they keep Shakespeare's most familiar tragedy one of the most interesting and enchanting script of all time.
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