Crimes Committed in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Crimes Committed in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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In William Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet", Prince Escalus exclaims at the end; "All are Punished." Is this true? Montague and Capulet have certainly committed a crime of upholding an ancient grudge that has claimed many lives. The Friars crime was to run away from a suiciding person and also to mastermind Romeo and Juliet’s wedding and plans to run away, which eventually lead to the death of Romeo and Juliet. Even the main characters, who are painted as innocent and saint-like, have committed crimes punishable by the law. We know that the main characters have committed the crime, but do they all serve the time. The paragraphs below explain if they do.
The crime which Montague and Capulet committed was that they were fighting with each other. The reason for which they started fighting is uncertain. The hatred they feel towards each other filters down to their family members and servants. Gregory exclaims in the first scene, "The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men." (Act 1, sc (i) line 19). He is saying that how their masters fight is also theirs. Since Montage and Capulet committed atrocious crimes, god found a way to punish them both. The way in which he punished Capulet is first he killed off Tybault, and then he took his daughter Juliet, along with her proposed suitor, County Paris. Montague is emotionally destroyed when his only son, Romeo is banished from Verona, the same day that Benvolio breathed his last. . This upsets his wife so much that night after Romeo was banished, she slept, never to wake up again. The next day, he learns that his son, Romeo, has committed suicide, which brings an end to the emotional punishment he will receive. Both Capulet and Montague committed a crime, and for these acts have received the appropriate punishment.
The Friar is portrayed as an innocent person, who has committed no wrong doings, but this is not the case. The Friars biggest mistake was to marry Romeo and Juliet without their parents consent. Although this is not a crime, it is morally wrong. The friar also committed a crime by trying to make Romeo and Juliet run away, but this plan ultimately leads to doom. He also abandoned Juliet when he heard that the watch were coming, and let her kill herself. Although the reason why he committed these wrong doings was to unite a family and save a couples life, what he did was wrong.

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If the Friars last plan had worked, and Romeo and Juliet had got away, a lot more blood could have been spilt. This action could have caused both the families to move even further apart, strengthening their hatred for one another. There is no crime that the Friar has committed, therefore he cannot be punished by Prince Escalus. However, the Friar realises that he was part to blame for the death of Romeo and Juliet. This is why he exclaims to the prince;
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
be sacrificed, some hour before his time
(Act 5, sc(iii) line 271-272)
He is obviously aware of his wrongdoings, and the guilt that he feels is the punishment he shall receive for his part in the death of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet are the main characters of the play, and are portrayed as innocent lovers. But they too have committed crimes. Romeo committed a crime of killing of Tybault, who was his cousin. Juliet, although it was not a crime, she back chatted her parents and was a disobedient daughter. Also, both Romeo and Juliet married without their parent’s consent, which although not punishable by the law, it is still morally wrong. The punishments they receive however are severe. They both must communicate and love in silence, as their parents do not know about their love, and they intend to keep it that way. Romeo also is banished from Verona after killing Tybault, although it was Tybault who provoked the fight. Juliet also faced the punishment of marrying Count Paris. She took it as a punishment, because she thinks by marrying Count Paris, she will betray Romeo. Their final punishment was Romeo thinking that Juliet was dead and Juliet thinking that Romeo was dead. In the end, however, they both died. This must not be taken as a punishment, as they both took their own life. In fact, it must be taken as a reward. Now that Romeo and Juliet are both dead, they can both meet up in heaven and live happily and freely, away from the boundaries set by their parents. Another reward after their death is that they have both ended an ancient grudge, although they do not know about. Romeo and Juliet’s punishment were harsh for the wrongdoings that they had done.
All the main characters commit a crime or wrong doing, and they all serve the time. The major difference is that some of the main characters are let off lightly, and others are punished severely. Capulet and Montague are let off lightly, since it is their grudge that is the root of all the problems in the play. Romeo and Juliet were punished severely for the crimes that they had committed. The Friar’s punishment was fair, as he really didn’t do any crime punishable by the law, but rather some morally wrong deeds. The guilt and regret he feels for doing those acts should be a sufficient punishment till the day he dies. So in fact, all the characters in the play do commit a crime or wrong doing, and they all get punished in one way or another.
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