William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a play about two families who have an “ancient

grudge”. The children from both families fall in love and are seen as

“a pair of star-crossed lovers”; their relationship results in

tragedy.

Violence plays an important part of the play because without violence

there would be no storyline and the play wouldn’t fit into the tragedy

genre. A tragedy is when the main character has a fatal flaw usually

resulting in their death. Romeo and Juliet fit into this genre because

the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet die at the end of the play.

Also most tragedies have a “chorus” to introduce the play, Romeo and

Juliet also has a “chorus”.

Most people in Elizabethan times believed in fate and it was common to

go to confession. Fathers wouldn’t expect other family members to

disobey them, so in Act 3, scene 5 when Juliet says she won’t marry

Paris an Elizabethan audience would be shocked. “Proud can I never be

of what I hate”. Capulet also shows family value when he says he will

disown Juliet if she doesn’t marry Paris. Capulet is so upset when

Juliet refuses to marry Paris because he is a man of honour and

doesn’t want to go back on his word.

A Shakespearean audience would believe in all the premonitions made so

they would worry about what was going to happen to the main

characters. They believed in what the stars said whereas a modern day

audience wouldn’t take it so seriously.

The Elizabethans loved their language and liked to play with words, in

Act 1, scene 1 Gregory and Sampson are talking, “No for then we should

be colliers”, “I mean, and we be in choler, we’ll draw”, “Ay, while

you live, draw you’re your neck out of a collar”. This is a play with

the word colliers, Gregory and Sampson would have thought that it was

very clever to play with their language like that and throughout the

rest of the play lots more word play is seen.
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