A True Aristotelian Tragedy

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Untimely deaths and desperation envelope Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet, members of rival families, fall in love. Secretly they marry, but, after a series of unfortunate events, both end up committing suicide. Romeo and Juliet can be defined, under Aristotle’s definition, as a tragedy.
The play has a clear beginning, middle, and end, which fulfills the first part of Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy, unity of action. The Capulet’s and Montague’s have been fighting for years. So, when two Capulet servants meet servants from the rival house of Montague, a quarrel begins that grows into an ugly street fight. The Prince puts a stop to it and orders the two houses not to fight, or, if they do, they will be executed. “If ever you disturb our streets again, / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (1.1.104-105). Tension between these two families is now at an all time high. Next Juliet meets Romeo and falls in love with him at first sight. The middle of the play now occurs during which Romeo and Juliet secretly get married by Friar Lawrence. Romeo then murders Tybalt, causing him to be banished to Mantua, never to see Juliet again. Juliet’s father then forces her to marry Paris. The end of the play then begins, in which Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan to reconnect the two lovers and cancel the marriage. The plan consists of Juliet taking a potion that makes her seem dead for forty two hours. Then, when Juliet is in her casket, Romeo will sneak in and take Juliet with him to Mantua. However, that plan falls through as Romeo never receives the plan. Romeo, thinking Juliet is dead, kills himself. Juliet abruptly wakes up and sees her lover on the floor, dead. Heartbroken, she stabs h...

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...ere the feud between the Capulets and Montagues is reignited, middle, where Romeo and Juliet marry and Romeo is then banished, and end, where Romeo and Juliet commit suicide and the two families end their feud. The events in the play, such as Romeo’s death and Juliet’s thoughts of suicide, cause sympathy and fright in the audience, leaving them with a chance to be emotionally cleansed at the end, where the two families stop fighting and build statues for Romeo and Juliet. Two highly renowned protagonists, Romeo and Juliet, fall from their renown due to disobeying orders and killing themselves and others. Suffering is a main part of the play, as Romeo and Juliet face many difficulties with their relationship and their families. Often, people call Romeo and Juliet a romance or a comedy, but neither classification ends with the tragic suicides of the protagonists.
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