Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s first play based on a tragedy, even though there is a certain amount of comedy. However, there is a feeling of unease throughout the play as the conflict between the two families becomes more in-depth. The older generation of these two families started the conflict a long time ago, and now it is up to the younger members of the families to continue their war. However, in the middle of this conflict is a young couple who fall deeply in love but are not allowed to marry because their families hate each other.
In this first tragedy play, Shakespeare uses the conflict between two families; however, this play does not have the power that his later tragedies have; for example, in Macbeth, the conflict is far broader in this play countries are torn apart by the deeds of the characters within the play. In this essay, I hope to explain the different kinds of conflicts included, such as physical, verbal, cross-generation, language, and emotional conflict.
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The prologue to act one scene one of Romeo and Juliet is in the form of a sonnet. Sonnets are usually focused on love and romance, but this sonnet is about violence and chaos. This automatically shows the conflict in the structure and language of the play. At the very beginning of act one, scene one, we are introduced to two members of the Capulet family, Sampson and Gregory. These characters are friends in the play, although they are initially shown to be arguing with each other.
They are trying to psyche each other up so that they are ready to fight the members of the Montague family. For example, Sampson says, “a dog of the house Montague moves me” this is saying that the Montagues are getting on his nerves. Then Gregory says, “if thou art moved, thou most run away” this is calling Sampson a coward. It also shows evidence that there is a conflict between the two families.
Many directors have attempted to recreate this play as a modern film. But in most of these films, this conversation is left out because modern audiences would not have found some of the metaphors used amusing. Instead, they would have been confused, whereas the audience in the Elizabethan times would have found these jokes amusing. So, for example, Sampson is said to be biting his thumb at Abraham, which in those days was a sign of disrespect like the modern raising of the middle finger.
Later in the scene, we have introduced Bonvolia, a member of the Montague family; he is a main character in the play and is Romeo’s best friend. Here are some of his first words “I do but keep the peace.” this shows that he is a peaceful character in the play; on the other hand, a member of the Capulet family named Tybalt is a bloodthirsty character who is bent on destroying all of the Montague family, here is an example of this. “peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montague’s, and thee.” This shows that there is an apparent conflict between the two families. It also sets the tone of the conflict for the rest of the play.
In the Shakespearian times, the ordinary people who would have been watching the play were accustomed to watching violence; it was the main form of entertainment in the Elizabethan times. People wanted to see other people or animals being killed. So Shakespeare had to find a way to keep the audience hooked on his plays. This is why he started the play with a huge fight scene in the middle of the square. Although the play seems to be about physical violence and death, it also shows significant parts of emotional conflict. This is shown during act one, scene one in Romeo.
In the beginning, he is hugely depressed because he is deeply in love with a character named Roselyn, who does not love him in return. Romeo uses oxymorons to express his depression. “bright smoke, cold fire, sick health.” This shows the conflict in language because the words used are complete opposites. This is probably one of the most critical scenes in the play. It is the scene in which Romeo and Juliet first lay eyes on each other. It is also the scene that sets up the whole mood of the tragedy in the play. The scene shows the way a love of great potential is ruined by futile conflict.
It is also good to notice that the language used in the first words between Romeo and Juliet forms a perfect sonnet; this shows love at first sight between the couple. Romeo uses conflicts between light and dark a lot during the play; this reflects on the love and hate at the centre of the conflict in the whole play. “like a rich jewel on an Ethiope’s ear.” this shows Romeo saying that she is a bright light in a dark world. In response to the sonnet formed by Romeo and Juliet’s first conversation. Tybalt speaks a poem of hatred to Romeo and the Montague’s family. This shows Tybalt’s character; in a nutshell, it shows the solid hatred between the Capulet’s and the Montagues and the hatred of Romeo by Tybalt.
Tybalt even vows to kill Romeo his hatred is also shown in the last two lines of his speech. “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.” this is a perfect half-rhyme, which shows anger and hatred. Also, the perfect sonnet formed by Romeo and Juliet’s first words reflects the conflict between love and hate, which h I expressed very well by Juliet with the lines “my only love sprung from my only hate.” This scene, in my opinion, is the most violent in the whole play; although it is mainly physical conflict, there are still large parts of emotional conflict within Romeo. During the Shakespearian period, this would have been one of the favourite scenes because of all the violence.
The people of the time would have enjoyed watching an action fight scene just as much as we do today. At the beginning of the scene, Mercutio is going a bit mad for no apparent reason. The two different film versions of the play I have seen convey this in different ways. The version directed by Luhrmann is the version made with guns instead of swords. This version shows Mercutio’s madness by sitting on the beach, firing aimlessly at fish in the sea. In the Zeffirelli version of the film, Mercutio’s madness walks around with a wet towel over his head, talking gibberish. In both versions, Mercutio is accusing Benvolio of being a violent character which is undoubtedly not true.
After a while, in both versions, Tybalt shows up and tries to start a fight with Romeo. But Romeo does not want to fight Tybalt because now he is married to Juliet, they are related, and he does not want to hurt Juliet and kill his and her relatives. But Tybalt doesn’t know this, so he still wants to fight Romeo. Both versions of the film show Tybalt’s action’s when he kills Mercutio in an accident. But each version shows it differently. In the Luhrmann version, it is not clear whether it is an accident or not, and he doesn’t seem s sorry for killing Mercutio as in the Zeffirelli version, where it is clearly shown to be an accident, and he seems sorry. After the fight in both movies, Tybalt walks away. But each one shows differently who started the fights.
In the Luhrmann version, Tybalt arrives, and Romeo is not there, so he and Mercutio fight instead. But in the Zeffirelli version, Mercutio starts to give it to Tybalt after he has already started to walk away, which makes Tybalt fight. So Luhrmann shows tybalt as more of an aggressor than the other directors. In both versions, however, Romeo goes crazy and chases Tybalt and kills him. Once again, Luhrmann shows the more aggressive side by having Romeo chase Tybalt in a car and then viciously shoot him down. But in the Zeffirelli version, there is a fair sword fight involved. At the end of the fight, the physical conflict ends, and Romeo realizes what he has done “I am fortune’s fool.” this is where Romeo realizes he conflicts with fate and destiny and that he is spiralling towards his doom.
Although act three, scene five, contains no physical violence, it still contains many significant conflicts; this is mainly emotional, although this is not obvious to the audience. The conflict in this scene is found in the capulet family and inside Juliet herself. Although the Shakespearian audience would have loved the scenes of physical violence (just as we do know days), they also would have appreciated the powerful and emotional, conflicting story line’s as well as the powerful acting shown in this scene. The opening of the play shows the happiest moment of the whole story. It shows the morning after Romeo and Juliet consummated their secret marriage.
It also signifies the start of dark times. The conflict starts to appear in the scene in the imagery of what they are saying. For example, Juliet conflicts with her language because she can hear the nightingale singing, which signifies light and the morning, but she says that the birds singing is the lark signifying night and darkness. This shows the conflict between light and dark and day and night. At the end of the conversation, Juliet says, “oh god, I have an ill-driving soul.” this means that she thinks something is going to go wrong . ” methinks I see thee now, thou art so low, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.” This is although she sees the future in the play. This shows Juliet’s conflict with fate.
After Romeo leaves out of the window, lady capulet enters, and Juliet starts to cry. Lady Capulet thinks that Juliet is weeping for Tybalt “evermore weeping for your cousin’s death.” but she is accentually weeping for Romeo, who has been banished to Mantua. Juliet is in a state of emotional torment at this point in the play, but here it gets worse. Lady capulet starts trying to get her to marry Paris, but Juliet is already married to Romeo. “I swear it will be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris.” That was Juliet telling her mum that she would instead marry Romeo than Paris. This shows the conflict inside Juliet because she is meaning what she is saying, and the audience knows that, but lady capulet thinks she is just expressing the fact that she does not want to marry Paris.
So she is not lying to her mum but twisting the truth. The situation is made worse when capulet enters and asks lady capulet whether Juliet has accepted Paris’s offer of marriage. When lady capulet says that Juliet has not, capulet gets very angry. Then capulet threatens to drag Juliet to the church, “or I will drag thee on a hurdle hither.” this shows that capulet is extremely angry. Capulet then calls Juliet ungrateful of her father’s good graces to let her marry Paris. Then he starts having a go at everyone in the room. He tells Juliet to either marry Paris or never talk to or look at him again.
In this scene, Juliet is arguing back with her dad politely. This shows how she has developed into a woman since the beginning of the play; she isn’t just shouting back at him but is politely putting her point across, which shows maturity. Juliet’s emotional turmoil is made worse when her mother leaves her and joins her father’s side of the argument; This leaves her all on her own with no one on her side to help her; even the nurse who tries to help her can do nothing to help her situation. You can easily see the emotional conflict and turmoil from Juliet’s profoundly emotional language. “O God!–O nurse, how shall this be prevented.” the emotional conflict shown here would have been highly entertaining to the audience watching the play.
This is the final and most upsetting scene of the play, in my opinion, because this is the scene when Romeo and Juliet both kill themselves. It is also the scene where Paris, the man Juliet was supposed to marry, dies. This death, however, seems to be out of place. His murder by Romeo seems to show the sheer desperateness of Romeo to get to Juliet’s body. After this, Romeo sees Juliet’s body, and he thinks she is dead, so he takes some poison and lays dead next to Juliet.
But as he dies, Juliet wakes up and finds Romeo dead, so she kills herself as well. This is an unfortunate but romantic ending to the play. Although both Romeo and Juliet died at the end of the play, there is a tremendous amount of irony that their death meant peace between the two houses of the Montagues and the Caplets. These lovers finally manage to unite the family in grief. And resolve the long-standing conflict. As you can see, Romeo and Juliet are filled with many different kinds of conflict ranging from emotional, physical, family and language conflicts. All of these points are put together to create the perfect tragedy and make a brilliant play.