Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare as a Tragedy

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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare as a Tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" is considered by most people to be Shakespeare's most tragic work. Two young people die for their love for each other - what can be more purer, romantic and tragic than that. But is it as simple as that? What does actually make the play so tragic? Before we can discuss the tragic aspects of Romeo and Juliet, we must first understand the meaning of the term 'tragedy'. The Chambers Dictionary defines tragedy as" a type of drama dealing with tragic events and often involving the fall of an honourable, worthy and important protagonist, often with elevated action and language; a play of this type; the art of such drama; any piece of literature, music, etc ending with disaster for the protagonist; a disaster, any sad story or turn of events; any event involving killing". Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy by the definition in the dictionary. Both lead roles, Romeo and Juliet, die in the play, therefore making it tragic. However there are many more factors which are typical of Shakespeare' tragedies which occur, and some factors which make the play less tragic. Juliet is a more tragic figure because she has no real control over her life at all. The arrival of Romeo and their subsequent love affair gives her an alternative to a life controlled by her father and his choice of husband for her - she could run away and live a romantic life with Romeo. At the end both Romeo and Paris are dead so even if she survived there would be no future for Juliet. Main characters in Shakespeare's plays are often quite innocent and are swept along by other events happening at the time, for e... ... middle of paper ... ...nciliation with her father. Her union with Romeo has lost Juliet her family whatever the outcome. 'Romeo and Juliet' was written as a tragedy, and is still seen as such over four hundred years later. A modern day audience may react differently to some aspects of the play - the treatment of women and the age of Juliet, for example. In our society, Juliet would still be considered a child and Romeo would be in as much trouble for his marriage to underage Juliet as he would be for the murder of Tybalt. Yet, despite that, our sympathies are with the young couple who were not responsible for the feud between their parents but who had to suffer the consequences. The tragedy is inevitable from the beginning. From the moment Romeo first sees Juliet and they share their first kiss they hurtle headlong towards their death.
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