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Romeo and Juliet Critical Lens Essay

Robert Assagioli once said, “Without forgiveness life is governed by . . . an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” In other words, if one can’t learn to be compassionate, one’s life is going to be controlled by a continuous feeling of hatred and revenge. This quote is accurate because people need to forgive others in order to move on with their own lives. Harboring negative feelings and holding grudges consumes you. The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare illustrates this quote well.

In The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, many of the characters hold grudges and set out for revenge quickly after having been provoked. For example, the antagonist, Tybalt Capulet, is easily angered when the protagonist, Romeo Montague, shows up to the Capulet’s part uninvited. He swears for revenge and goes to find Romeo to challenge him and ends up killing another Montague and then being killed himself. As a result of this, the Prince sets out to banish Romeo. The underlying problem in the story, though, is that the Montague and Capulet’s are feuding and have been for years. They only realize it’s wrong when their children die.

On the other hand, the story also illustrates a lighter note associated with forgiveness instead of holding grudges. Juliet forgives Romeo for killing Tybalt, even though Tybalt was her kinsman. When Juliet is in despair because of Romeo’s banishment and disobeys her father, he is outraged, but later forgives Juliet when she seemingly comes around. The most important apology acceptance is in the end when Capulet’s and Montague’s end their feud and erect statues of each other’s deceased children.

The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare proves Assagioli’s quote. Although it seemed the families could not stand each other in the beginning and many had personal grudges whereas others had only a general grudge towards the opposing family, in the end the Capulet’s and Montague’s decide it’s pointless to keep feuding. It goes to show that if one has been wronged and seeks immediate revenge or let’s one’s self fume and hold onto it, then they will be a miserable person until they can learn to let it go and forgive.


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