In the Elizabethan time period 1589-95 Sir William Shakespeare a playwright wrote the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The play is often thought of as a love story however it is actually far more concerned with violence, death and fate than it is with love. Romeo and Juliet is highly regarded as one of Shakespeare’s best plays, even as one of the world’s finest love stories. However the play has many other themes of conflict, violence and inevitable tragedy. The play title immediately introduces the theme of love, and the not the darker side of the play, as the name ‘Romeo and Juliet’ refers to two lovers and nothing else.
The play also includes the constant mentioning of the inevitable tragedy. In this essay I will be looking at the themes of forbidden love, family feuds, and revenge that come between the relationship of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet to answer the question of how violence and conflict are introduced by finding evidence to support each theme. I will then conclude by answering the question as a whole. Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He married Anne Hathaway in 1882 and had two children. Hamnet and Judith.
William Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. Shakespeare used a variety of sources for his dramas. The story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was by all accounts taken from the poem, The tragic history of Romeus and Juliet written by Arthur Brooke, though the original story may be derived from the Greek author, Xenophon. The play was published in quarto form in 1597 so it is safe to assume that the play may have been written a couple of years earlier, during the first stage of his career. The Quartos contained single plays and were sold for a sixpence each.
The play is unusual in that it is a tragedy, for the bulk of his writing in the early years were comedies and histories. Romeo and Juliet marry at a young age of 14 and 15, which links to the time period of the fifteen hundreds as young marriages were not uncommon. In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare includes the theme of revenge to give the play action and tragedy. Romeo blames himself for the death of Mercutio, and is resentful of Tybalts insults; he fears that his love for Juliet has weakened his courage. After witnessing Mercutio’s death, Romeo vows to slay Tybalt. “And red-eyed fury may be my conduct now!
‘ Romeo says here how he is filled with anger and wants revenge, and he may behave with his anger now. “Red-eyed”, shows he is filled with anger and rage and that he is ruling with his heart and not his logic. “Either thou, or I, or both must go with him. ” Romeo angrily says here that they will fight and one of them or both of them will die and join Mercutio. Romeo thinks this should happen as he has lost a friend and will fight, no matter what the outcomes is, to avenge Mercutio. Both outcomes of the fight will create a tragedy because Romeo will either die or be banished.
Romeo’s revenge leads to a violent and tragic end to Tybalts life. Violence is introduced through Romeo’s hunt for revenge. Another example of revenge is when Tybalt spots Romeo at Juliet’s marriage party. He wants revenge and goes in search of Romeo to fight him. “Boy shall not excuse his injuries that thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw. ” Tybalt wants to cause Romeo pain for intruding at Juliet’s party and will fight others to get to Romeo. This is shown when Tybalt ten kills Mercutio, which leads onto the next scene of revenge.
This is also an example of the theme of inevitable tragedy. Shakespeare weaves inevitable tragedy into many acts in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare shows this immediately in the prologue as well as saying that the theme of inevitable tragedy will continue as the play goes on. ‘A pair of star crossed lovers’, (the phrase puts forward the fact that the two lovers are doomed from the start. The phrase means love is blind. This shows how the two lovers are in love, and this makes them do things that they would normally suggest other people to do otherwise.)