Essay, Pages 17 (4118 words)
In act 5, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the Prince says “Some shall be pardon’d and some shall be punished.” If you agree with the Prince, what do you think should happen to; (a) the Nurse; (b) Benvolio; (c) the Friar; and (d) the Parents.
In the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, written by William Shakespeare in 1594-1596, the Prince of Verona condemns all who were involved in the plot of the two dead lovers.
I will decide how far I agree with the Prince, and how their role affects the enmity caused by the feud.
During the Medieval and Renaissance periods, the power of the Italian Princes in their states and cities was almost complete. They always had a say in state politics and the affairs of the head families in their dominion, and were the most powerful people in their domain. The increasing power of the Princes was first properly recognized and put into action during the reign of the Italian Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa (1152 – 1190), who wanted to restore the role of the Emperor into supreme power.
This led to a series of battles and wars between states and cities; this is how the Lombard League was formed. The princes feared loosing power, so a group of cities in the northern peninsula became allied together and marched against Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnan1179. The victory was to the Princes, so the Emperor conceded to rule from afar, and only to intervene if it was of vital importance.
“It is necessary for a Prince who wishes to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and make use of it or not according to necessity.”
From Niccolï¿½ Machiavelli’s book, ‘The Prince’. This is one of the best remaining sources that we have nowadays informing us about the power Princes held within Italy during his time. Machiavelli shows that it was necessary for a Prince of the state to be ruthless, vindictive and was not normally afflicted with despondent emotion. Machiavelli, a man of power and wealth himself, used all the evil necessities that helped with the well being of his followers, and was a patriotic man, he believed that the country needed a man learned in both state politics and warfare, was a just ruler and would unify the country, creating the ultimate power base.
The Prince of Verona in the play was a peace keeper, and ruled on high in his city. Only he had the power to condemn the heads of the houses to death;
“If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.”
After “three civil brawls”, the Prince lays down the charge to the heads to keep the younger, more mutinous generation in line. Once he has entered the piazzia where the third fight is happening, all parties separate and did not draw against the Prince due to his superiority over even Old Capulet and Montague. We see the power display when more members of the two houses are killed, and are laid down outside the Princes palace requesting him to bear judgment, and when it is delivered, no one dares question it.
In Elizabethan England, the position of women was decidedly low, given that the monarch at the time was Elizabeth I, only the third Queen in England’s history. The traditional view of women then was one that had been echoed down the drafty corridors of history, and meant that a young woman was her fathers possession, and was given away into matrimony, and a husband was given a dowry to marry an eligible woman, almost like a bribe to persuade them to enter a married state. After that, they were expected to be like a submissive baby, an object changing owners.
In a time before the state controlled everything, the Church provided and oversaw the educational system of the medieval epoch They taught the young boys to read and write as well as help them attain an in-depth knowledge of the Bible, and all its teachings. Therefore the Church found girls inferior to boys, and used the Bible to prove their point, while refusing to teach anyone of the female sex. The extent of a common girls education was what they learned from their mothers, such as cleaning, cooking and basic darning of clothes, as well as making new garments. Lower class women were not expected to work, but to stay home, produce babies, keep house and care for their lord and master. A woman of higher rank, who tended to have more prospects, was taught more intricate embroidery, and also a tutor or governess provided knowledge of foreign languages. Women of the highest rank, such as daughters of Lords and Dukes, were expected to be learned in reading, writing, embroidery, drawing and also elocution, languages and dance.
If a man was to decide to beat his wife, there was no one and nothing to stop him from doing so, while in this day and age, there are laws in place to prevent this from happening. The Church explained the concept that men were superior to women, and used the Bible to explain why; the hypothesis became ingrained, and remained so until the late eighteenth century. Only the brave, wealthy, influential or down right nonsensical dare try to disagree, and most did not last long afterwards. Not even titled women like the Queen herself would have the temerity to go against the age-old tradition. Only the most affluent and important could afford to properly educate their offspring, and the remainder of the female sex stayed home to provide their husbands with heirs and care for the house.
Under Queen Elizabeth I, the writing and performing arts flourished, and playwrights such as Shakespeare could go about transforming the face of creative writing in their day. But it was still not feasible for the Queen to be excluded from the supposed inferiority that had kept the land under a blanket for so long, that on the 29th of July, 1588, she made a speech in front of the English fleet, before going into battle against the Spanish Armada. She said:
“I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king, and a King of England to.”
A rousing speech, which was later, expanded to a victory cry as the invading force was repulsed, but the Queen herself had to show that she to was a man at heart, and was worthy of the title ‘Queen’.
In the play, we can see that Juliet is a devoted daughter, and an obedient child, following all her parents’ commands and wishes, as well as all her Nurses advice. After her secrete marriage to Romeo, and her cousin Tybalt is killed, Juliet’s father proposes that she marries County Paris, and is shocked at Juliet’s sudden refusal to obey. He is then angered at her ungrateful manner, and does not find it feasible that any daughter of his should turn down such an illustrious bridegroom. It was a thing unheard of in Shakespeare’s times for a young woman to refuse an arranged marriage made to them by their parents, and if they did, then they were normally disowned.
“For by my soul, I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,
Nor what is mine shall never do thee good.”
After Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris, her father flies into a rage, and threatens to disown her, and also refuses to acknowledge her until she gives in to his wishes.
The tale of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was written around 1594 to 1596, but the concept is as old as time, being traced back to the third century AD, in a novel called ‘Ephesiaca’ by Xenephon of Epheuas, but was most probably passed down by word of mouth, making the story even older. Tragic romances became popular in Europe in the fifteenth century, during which time Italian writers give many details that we could recognize in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, all written prior to Shakespeare, but never as well known. Of these would include; Arthur Brooke’s ‘The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet’, written in 1562; An Italian novella written by Matteo Bandello in 1554, called ‘Giulietta e Romeo’ supposed to be two real people belonging to the houses of the Montecchi in Verona, and the Capelletti in nearby Cremona, both believed to be partly responsible for the civil strife in the thirteenth century; William Painter’s collection entitled ‘The Palace of Pleasure’, written before 1580; The collection ‘Il Novelli Novellamente Ritrouvta di due Nobili Amanti’ or also known as ‘A story newly found of two noble lovers’, written by Luigi Da Porta, and was published in the 1530’s. Shakespeare is likely to have received inspiration from all of these sources, and has juxtaposed them all together for the result we see in the theatre today.
“Shakespeare does not create stereotypes, he creates individuals.”
Shakespeare, after adding his own changes and ideas to the tale, giving the newly weds only one night of wedding bliss where as most other writers allowed them at least one month before their tragic end. Once Shakespeare’s version was written it has performed until this day.
In Shakespeare’s language he exploits the use of sonnets in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, particularly when the two lovers first meet at the Capulet’s ‘old accostmened feast’. The structure of sonnets is 14 lines, with 3 quatrains and a final rhyming couplet. All men were expected to write sonnets to the Lady they are courting and wooing, showing that they are well educated, and will go to many lengths to secure the woman’s heart. Another form of language that Shakespeare uses is oxymorons. Oxymorons use opposites to express emotions, and at the beginning of the play Romeo exploits the use of oxymorons to describe how he wallows in self-pity for his love of Rosaline, and also at his frustration at the feud. Shakespeare shows the confusion and anger in the play by saying things like ‘feather of lead’ and;
“O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything that nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity”
Romeo expresses his frustration and anger through these words to Benvolio, and sinks into his loss at the rejection he feels from Rosaline.
Two verses Shakespeare uses in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ most are blank verse and Iambic pentameter. Blank verse was preferred by most play writes in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. When speaking in blank verse, like the Nurse, there is a regular rhythm, but it does not rhyme, and so is very flexible in the way that people can make use of it. Iambic pentameter is entirely different. Every line (made up of ten syllables) must be divided into pairs, and their syllables, or feet, as they are also known. Each pair has one accented syllable and one unaccented, a pattern that appears now.
“What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee Benvolio, look upon thy death”
Showing the stresses in the above sentence make us see that Shakespeare sometimes bent the rules of Iambic pentameter, like the uneven stresses in “Turn thee.”
In my opinion, the Nurse should have been “pardon’d”, by Prince Escales, for numerous reasons. Firstly, the Nurse was like a mother to Juliet, she raised her; breast fed her and cared for her,
“Were not I thine only nurse
I would say thou hadst suck’d wisdom from thy teat.”
When the Nurse is invited to hear about the man who has been enquiring about Julie, and “seeks you for his love”, she is overjoyed and acts in every way that a mother would act. Therefore, when Juliet meets Romeo, and they become infatuated with each other, the Nurse is even more excited at the prospect of marriage.
Secondly, during the preparations for the marriage, the Nurse acts as the go between, and helps formulate when and how Juliet will leave the household to wed her family’s worst enemy.
“Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
And there she shall at Friar Lawrence’ call
Be shriv’d and married.”
When the Nurse hears of the marriage plans she is overjoyed, but also warns Romeo that in breaking her heart it would be a “very weak dealing”.
When arranging for the marriage with Romeo, the Nurse shows her care and devotion by warding Romeo away from teasing Juliet, “If ye should lead her in a fool’s paradise”. The Nurse means that if he seduces her, then it will be very shameful conduct on his part, and would be well known of, leading not only to his disgrace, but also Juliet’s, which the Nurse will not allow.
After the fracas with Tybalt, and Romeo’s banishment, Juliet turns to the Nurse for advice and comfort. And, again, when her father is forcing the marriage with the County Paris onto her, she goes to the Nurse for counsel:
“O God! – O Nurse, how shall this be prevented?”
Juliet has always turned to the Nurse when her need calls, and the Nurse has always found Juliet following her advice, so did not expect Juliet to go against her guidance.
The Nurse’s only omission was to think that Juliet’s love for Romeo was but a minor infatuation, and that she could forget her feelings for her first husband, “Romeo’s a dishclout to him”, meaning Paris, and the Nurse prefers to think that Romeo would not come back to Verona for fear of being killed. Her misinterpretation of her charge’s love, undoubtedly leads to the tragedy of “Juliet and her Romeo”.
I believe that Benvolio should be “pardon’d” because of his peacemaker’s attitude, and also his ignorance of the marriage in addition to the later conspiracy to reunite them. Benvolio is a high ranking nobleman, the cousin of Romeo, the only heir to the Montage fortune, and also a peaceful man, trying to prevent the feud from breaking to “new mutiny”. During the third “civil brawl”, Benvolio is one of the first men of higher rank than the servants to enter into the fight “bred of an airy word”. While trying to part the quarrelling adversaries Tybalt arrives, and asks for a fight
Put up your swords, you know not what you do”.
While still trying to separate the servants of each household, and pushing reason above lust towards Tybalt, Benvolio is caught up in the fray, and the battle rages on until the entrance of the Prince of Verona.
Secondly, Benvolio is trustworthy, and after the first battle in the play, Old Montague asks who “set this ancient quarrel now abroach?” trusting Benvolio to speak the truth, and believing his answer. After the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio, and then Tybalt and Romeo, Prince Escales ask s Benvolio to recount the truth, trusting his judgement and story.
“Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?”
Being held in high esteem, and reputable for his candour, by persons as high as the Prince himself, none, not even Lady Capulet, could turn around what he said.
Benvolio also helps Romeo get over numerous infatuations, such as Rosaline, and persuades him to find a noblewoman who is more interested.
“Compare her face with some that I will show,
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.”
Benvolio’s ignorance of the marriage is purely down to not being included in the scheme by Romeo, and so did not know of Romeo’s infatuation with Juliet. While Romeo is at “Friar Lawrence’s cell”, Mercutio accompanies Benvolio, and they are touring the piazza.
“The day is hot, the Capels are abroad.
And if we meet we shall not scape a brawl.”
Benvolio is worried for the safety of the peace, but the two remain until Tybalt, and eventually Romeo, arrive on the scene. The battle deciding Tybalt’s fate takes place, and Romeo is banished from Verona, away from Juliet.
Finally, Benvolio was naive to the plot to “kill” Juliet, and then reveal the lovers’ marriage when Juliet awakes. The last time Benvolio speaks to Romeo was after his fight with Tybalt, and he only ordered Romeo to flee before the Prince’s guard caught him and killed him,
“Romeo, away, be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amaz’d, the Prince will doom thee death
If thou art taken. Hence be gone away!”
Romeo, “fortune’s fool”, flees the piazza, and is ignorant of the scheme to poison Juliet, and will only discover the truth when the two “star-crossed lovers” meet in death.
In my opinion, Friar Lawrence should be “pardon’d” by the Prince of Verona, because, in spite of all his meddling, he did it not just for his love of Romeo, who he raised in the same way the Nurse did Juliet, but also because of his wish to end the feud. Thinking that the young couples’ love would wash away the “canker’d hate” that the two families felt for each other, he married them.
“For this alliance may so happy prove,
To turn you households rancour to pure love.”
The Friar feels that even though Romeo has many infatuations, Juliet will be able to control him, and so, while tending his garden of herbs, he consents to marry them, later in the afternoon. The Friar wishes only to unite the families, and in doing so end the killing and feud, as most “ghostly fathers” would.
When standing at the alter with Romeo and Juliet, he gives advice, and believes that the couple can make a bridge across the raging torrent of water that is their families hatred,
“The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness,
And in the taste confounds the appetite,
Therefore love moderately, long love doth so.”
Believing that the newly weds would be slow in their loving, and cautious in their approach to their parents, the Friar shows that he has no understanding of the hot explosion of emotions that govern the younger generations.
On the same day as the wedding, the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets occurred, and during the clash both Mercutio and Tybalt are killed. Romeo flees to Friar Lawrence, as he dealt the deathblow to Tybalt, and awaits the Prince’s judgement. When the adjudication was made, and Romeo hears it, he despairs at being banished, and fears that he will never see Juliet again. When the Nurse arrives at the Friar’s cell, they come to the verdict that Romeo will spend the weeding night with Juliet, then flee to Mantua, and wait to be invited back at a better time.
“Either be gone before the watch be set,
Or by the break of day disguised from hence.”
Once resolved on a plan, all seems well until Juliet is then forced to wed County Paris, of which Romeo is still unaware. Juliet turns to Friar Lawrence for advice about what to do about the forthcoming marriage with, realising that she cannot turn to her Nurse, because she is in agreement with Juliet’s parents. She flees to the Friar, and their plan is concocted within the walls of his cell. After showing that she is more than willing to take her life to avoid Paris, the Friar brings out a curious potion he brewed himself.
“Take this vial, being then in bed,
And this distilling liquor drink then off.”
The Friar’s potion gives Juliet the appearance of death for “two and forty hours”, giving them enough time to notify Romeo of their scheme, and then collect her from “Capel’s monument”, to be reconciled with both parents, and so end the feud.
“No warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest.
Like Death when he shuts up the day of life.”
When the body is found on the morning of her wedding, she is discovered dead by the Nurse, and is then buried at the same time she should have been married.
When her father realises that Romeo has not received his letter, he hastens to the tomb alone, only to find Romeo there already poisoned. Upon Juliet awakening he tries to take her away, but their love is too strong, and she stabs herself. When the Watch was aroused, Friar Lawrence testifies, in front of the Prince, and reveals the whole story.
“And her I stand both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excus’d”
When the final story has been told, we realise that it was through the Friar’s bad judgement that aided the sorry end of the “star-crossed lovers”. He accepts his role was partly responsible for the death of the
two heirs of the households, and that his misinterpretation of the depth of their love shows how out of sync he was with the younger generation, and all their complex emotions.
I would punish the parents for their part in the feud and only trying to call a truce when the Prince threatened their lives’. At the beginning of the Play, when the feud was renewed, they made no attempt to stop it, unlike Benvolio and the Prince. Instead they tried to join the battle.
“Ancient grudge break to new mutiny”
When the killing is going on, only Romeo is unaware of it, and learns soon after of how dangerous the feud has become.
“Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean”.
Through their fighting many died and were also changed beyond help due the hatred that they grew up with, for example, “saucy boy” Tybalt.
“Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate”
The Prince is disgusted with their poor conduct, and will not allow their meddling with the peace of his City disrupt normal life, and they must adapt to his zero tolerance policy.
When the feud is renewed and the price laid upon the heads of the households the parents should have tried to make their own alliance to quell the more rebellious younger generations. Instead Old Capulet tries to force Juliet to marry County Paris, and, in doing so, pushes her away from him, and unknowingly, towards Romeo.
“She is the hopeful lady of my earth”.
While Juliet is Capulet’s only heir she must marry well, and who better than the Montague’s only heir, Romeo. The parents however, do not wish to end the feud, only calm it until the threat has passed.
Their lust for blood shows that an alliance must be made by them, as even and truce and its consequence, issued by the Prince, is still not enough to hold them back.
“I beg for justice which thou Price must give,
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo cannot live.”
When Lady Capulet pleads for blood her wish is denied for the Prince’s own household has now been damaged by the feud because Tybalt slew Mercutio, who was kinsman to the Prince and best friend to Romeo.
“Prince, as thou art true,
For blood of ours shed blood of Montague.”
Lady Capulet is still seething and tries a different angle. Although Mercutio was neutral, he had more ties to the Montague’s than the Capulet’s but was still not part of either of their houses and so, in her eyes, the scales were still uneven.
Only once the heir of both households had been killed, do their minds turn to peace, and through their sorrow is born a friendship which should last until all who remembered the tragic ending are no more.
“Poor sacrifices of our enmity.”
Their sorrow is absolute and is made worse by the fact that it was their hatred that killed them, not just through the love of each other, for they were being driven apart and so they went to a place where the feud had not effect.
“See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!”
The “scourge” is themselves, and their joys are now gone only to be seen when others pass between the barrier of death and life.
One thing that must be taken into account is that, like Tybalt, the parents are raised with the feud in them, and knew no better than to resume their parents’ work in loving memory of them. Once a bond has been made it takes an even stronger one to break it. In this case, love was stronger than hate, and the feud ended in a tomb.
Many other contributed to the hate that held sway for so long and are too many to name. Those related to the dead will be pardoned to some degree, others, for the example the servants and Tybalt, will be punished for keeping the feud alive for lack of anything better to do.
“For never was there a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
Cite this essay
An account of survival on Titanic. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/account-survival-titanic-new-essay