In Romeo and Juliet there is an emphasis on the theme of communication and the tragedy of misunderstanding. The examples of this in the play are the fight between Romeo, Mercrutio and Tybalt, when Juliet’s parents believe that she is crying over the death of Tybalt but really she is crying for Romeo and the miscommunication between Friar Lawrence, Balthassar and Romeo. There is a vast lack of communication between Romeo, Mercutio, and Tybalt. Tybalt demands Romeo to fight him but Romeo does not want to fight because he does not see the point in it as well as realizing that Tybalt is his kinsman because of his and Juliets secret wedding. When Tybalt is trying to pick a fight Romeo replies, ” I … love thee better than thou canst devise … So, good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as my own, be satisfied” (119. 69-73).
This confuses both Mercutio and Tybalt because they do not know why he is saying this and why he suddenly likes the Capulet’s. However Mercrutio fights Tybalt when Romeo refuses to. Romeo tries to stop the fight and he orders Benvolio to, “Beat down their weapons”, then he demanded, “Hold Tybalt! Good Mercutio!” (121. 87+91) as he steps in front of them. He fails to stop the fight and instead Mercrutio is killed. This leads to Romeo becoming infuriated and he kills Tybalt. All of this could have been prevented if Romeo had only told everyone that he had wedded Juliet, who made him and Tybalt related, therefore explaining why he would not fight him. Misunderstanding is the root cause of the fight between Mercrutio, Tybalt and Romeo.
In another scene in which there is poor communication is when Juliet’s parents assume she is heartbroken by the death of her cousin, Tybalt, because they do not know she is married to Romeo and is crying because he has been banished. Therefore, they try to do what they think is best for their daughter by marrying her to Paris to take her troubled mind off her dead cousin. In this scene Lady Capulet informs Juliet about her father’s arrangement by asking her, “Weeping for your cousin’s death?” and continuing, “Marry my child…Paris…shall make thee a joyful bride”. Juliet contemptuously responds, “He will not make me a joyful bride!” (161+165. 72,117-120,+122) and pleads with her mom not to make her wed Paris. Later in the same scene Juliet beseeches her father as to not force her to marry and he tells her, “Disobedient wretch! Get thee to church o’ Thursday or never after look me in the face!” (167. 166-168). Juliet never revealed to her parents that she married Romeo so they always thought she was crying over Tybalt’s death. All of this could have been avoided if Juliet had only told her parents she had married Romeo.
In the scene where everyone thinks Juliet is deceased there is a lack of communication between Friar Lawrence, Friar John, and Romeo. When Balthasar discovers Juliet is “dead” he goes to tell Romeo the bad news. When Romeo spots Balthasar he asks how Juliet is doing and he replies, “Her body sleeps In Capels monument.” (211. 119). When Romeo hears that, he is devastated and decides life is not worth living if he cannot be with Juliet. Romeo does not know the truth because he never received the letter from his mentor, Friar Lawrence. Later in that same scene there is a lack of communication between Friar Lawrence and Friar John.
Friar Lawrence never warned Friar John how essential it was that Romeo was to receive the letter, no matter what. When Friar Lawrence sees John he asks how the delivery went and John says, “I could not send it.” The Friar replied, “Unhappy fortune…The letter was not nice but full of charge…and neglecting it may do much danger.” (page 218, lines 14-20). The letter could have been delivered to Romeo if Friar Lawrence told Friar John just how vital it was that Romeo receives the letter.
William Shakespeare emphasizes the hardship of misinterpretation, in his tragic play Romeo and Juliet, through a lack of communication between many different characters. There are many scenes throughout the play in which he shows a void of communication such as the fight scene between Tybalt and Mercutio, the scene when Juliet is arguing with her parents, and especially in the scene when everyone thinks Juliet has died. In his play Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare shows that poor communication often leads to confusion and, more importantly, catastrophe. He does this to show the irony that immense misfortunes can occur due to the fact that people do not communicate with each other as well as they ought to, and when they do not dilemmas erupt.