Violence Motif in William Shakespeare´s Romeo and Juliet

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In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the motif of violence in dialogue of characters throughout the play adds meaning to the fact that passion leads to violence on both sides of the conflict, with the Montagues and Capulets. The passion of hatred possessed by both sides begins with the lowest of classes, the servants. Sampson, a servant of the Capulet, says he will, “push Montague’s men from the wall and thrust his maids to the wall,” (I, i, 15-16) as maids are “weaker” according to Gregory, the other servant. The “wall” in this case means the superiority of different parties. Those who walk by the wall have a higher superiority and those who walk away have a lower superiority. Sampson says that he will forcefully push the Montagues from the wall and bring them to their level where they will fight and leave the maids because, as Gregory states, “the quarrel is between our masters and us their men” (I, i, 17). Sampson continues his metaphor of violence by proclaiming after he has fought the men, he will “be civil the maids,” as he will “cut off their heads” (I, i, 18-20). This entire stretch of metaphor brings about a seemingly childlike kind of violence where both sides are influenced by the will of their masters. Shakespeare uses this first violence metaphor to show how in the beginning, the passion of hatred brings a foolish violence which does not benefit anyone. Shakespeare continues the metaphor of violence through the dialogue of Mercutio. Mercutio notices that Romeo is deep in love, stating that he is “already dead” and he his “heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt-shaft” (II, iv, 13-16). Mercutio means that Romeo has been hit with Cupid’s arrow right in his heart. This violence has evolved to one of lo... ... middle of paper ... ... my poor heart so for a kinsman vexed” (III, v, 95-96). Her mother thinks that she means she wants Romeo dead, but really she believes her heart to be dead over Romeo’s banishment. This is just another metaphor for the violence from the passion of love. Shakespeare refers to violence many times with character’s dialogues. This just keeps the evolution of the motif growing until it fully evolves to an outcome, death. The motif moves with the theme of passion leading to violence and adds to its meaning. If violence was not used as a motif or extended metaphor, that theme would be meaningless. That motif carries meaning when put in terms of the theme. The hatred side of the theme and the love side both carry meaning throughout with help from the violence motif. Overall, the motif carries meaning throughout the play resulting in the ending, violence and death.

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