The Theme of Violence in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

The Theme of Violence in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

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The Theme of Violence in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is based on the story of two lovers who secretly
married and suddenly separated. It is an old story, much older than
Shakespeare’s play. The plot dates back as far as the third century.

The story then was a familiar one by the time Shakespeare came to
write it as a play.

Elizabethan audiences of Shakespeare’s time had different expectations
to us. When we go to the cinema or theatre, we expect an element of
novelty or invention in what we see. We don’t want it to be too
predictable. We criticise films for copying or ripping off others if
we feel they lack originality. Every single play written by
Shakespeare has sources in literature that date from earlier times.
Romeo and Juliet is based on a poem published in 1562 by Arthur Brooke
called ‘The Tragicall History of Romeo and Juliet’. The characters of
Mercutio and Tybalt are barely developed in Brooke’s version, but
Shakespeare makes them much more important figures. It is, after all,
Romeo’s attachment to Mercutio that forces him to take revenge. Around
the same time, Shakespeare was also writing ‘A Midsummer’s Night
Dream’. These plays have a lot in common, being strongly involved with
the theme of love.

For most of Shakespeare’s life, the reigning monarch was Queen
Elizabeth I. With her counsellors and ministers, she governed the
country. The role of women was simple: to be useful in a domestic
sense only. There was no need for women to be educated or independent.
Girls were seen as the property of their fathers – to be given away to
whoever there father wished. In the same way, when they g...


... middle of paper ...


...et is dead, kills himself to join her in death. Juliet,
finding Romeo dead, also kills herself, not wishing to live without
him. Their deaths end the quarrels of the Montague and Capulet’s. This
shows that meeting in death could have been the only worthwhile
ending. The arguments boiled down to the relationships between Romeo
and Juliet, but they couldn’t be together. Overall, I think this play
is more violent than it should be. It starts of as a love relationship
and ends with violence and tragedy with a double-teen suicide. I think
from this play, the hatred sticks in my mind the most because that’s
what most of it was about. We didn’t really see much of a love
relationship throughout because it all was arguments over Juliet
marrying. She knew whom she would have been happy with but no others
were going to accept it.

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