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The characters are utilised by Shakespeare to highlight a sense of loss and desperation. The “Captain” who is a neutral figure, expresses a sense of remorse and sadness when he sees Romeo and Juliet’s dead bodies as a “pitiful site”, also illuminating a sense of universal suffering. Juliet’s “newly dead” body is used so that the agony and pain of her death is felt again universally. Romeo and Juliet are described as “piteous woes” which portrays them as one and as abstractions of sadness which emphasises the loss and despair of a romantic pair.
The words “trembles, sighs and weeps” are listed characteristics of suffering used to highlight a sense of loss and nervousness. The shock and astonishment of Romeo and Juliet’s death is highlighted by the repetition of “dead” showing how unexpected this tragedy really was. Tybalt’s death is exaggerated when Romeo and Juliet’s marriage day is described as “Tybalt’s doomesday” increasing the magnitude of desperation and sadness. Shakespeare illuminates a paradox of joy and sadness between “Tybalt’s untimely death” and the “new-made bride groom” creating a contrast of joy and misery.
There is a cruel irony when Juliet’s “borrowed grave” became her actual death bed. When this great tragedy was described as an “accident” it conveys the image of this great tragic love story as a minor and petty incident. Shakespeare uses the language of an important character to highlight a lack of gravitas and feeling in the text. Shakespeare uses “flowers” which represent nature, good health, love and positivity as a conventional image to highlight what this tragedy is all about. The last line describes everyone as being “punished” which again shows universal suffering.
Shakespeare focuses the blame and responsibility on many people to emphasise the complexity of this tragedy. When the captain of the watch “holds him in safety” there is an air of suspicion that suggests that there will be blame given. The “mattock and spade” are both physical emblems of the Friars responsibility, showing the explicit direct blame and responsibility, of the Friar. The fact that the families are unaware adds a sense of mystery and shows more clearly the rushed fickle and spontaneous nature of the marriage.
When Montague asks “What further woe conspires against mine age?” it shows bad luck, dual responsibility and the loss of youth and innocence. Shakespeare plays upon a maternal instinct when Juliet is described as a “daughter” for the first time, which is much less formal and emotional, conveying a real image of suffering and grieving. Shakespeare uses Romeo and Juliet’s “st’len marriage day” to portray a sense of immorality and negativity. When “Juliet pined” it reminds us of the rushed and hasty marriage. When Juliet is described as “doing violence to her self”, it presents to us a literal reading of suicide, but also lays a wider and inferred blame on Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare describes the nurse as “privy” to show the nurses responsibility in keeping secret. Shakespeare highlights a sense of resolution and end to trouble by conveying subtle hints through the use of his characters. There is a healing of a rift when Shakespeare uses Romeo and Juliet’s death to present a positive image of the families which is shown when Capulet says “O brother Montague” Which is used as a positive image of new unity and a bond between the two families.
The statue in “pure gold” emphasises the preciousness and importance of this tragedy. Montague compliments the Capulet’s when he says “true and faithful Juliet” showing that despite all the sorrow and grief there is still a sense of positivity. The resolution is tarnished by the fact that it is still “glooming” but it still gives us a sense of peace and when the “Prince” who is neutral repeats this again which portrays a universal sense of suffering.
The “sun” represents images of positivity and despite a sense of sadness and sorrow there is still a sense of calm and new peace. There is a sense of union and bonding when Balthasar says to the Prince “to the same place, to this same monument” showing the older generations past conflict and Balthasar represents youth and innocence so he also represents the ability to change attitudes and stop the rivalry and stubbornness that has become so ingrained. In this section Shakespeare uses tragic aspects to highlight tragedy towards the end.
The Princes advice is to have “patience” and slow down which is an ironic reminder that Romeo and Juliet’s fatal flaw was that they rushed in to their love and marriage. Friar advised Romeo and Juliet to slow down and “bear this work of heaven with patience” but they still remained rushed which is Shakespeare’s way of reminding us of Romeo’s hubris. The Friar wants his “old” life to be sacrificed emphasising even more the loss of youth, innocence and change.
There is a hint that the two families have not learnt anything from this great tragedy when Montague says “I can give thee more” which shows that the two families are still competitive and are both desperate to prove themselves better. There is an implication that they are still interested in materialism when the “statue” will be raised in pure gold which is another superficial attempt to show the power and wealth of the families. When this tragedy is described as a “story” it undermines the sense of real suffering and denigrates Romeo and Juliet’s love.