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Romeo and Juliet is a Tragedy of two “star-crossed loves’” destine to be together. The “two households, both alike in dignity” but drawn apart by an “ancient grudge.” The lovers’ death is caused by many a reason of haste, society, hierarchy, religion, time, loyalty, honour and education. The characters themselves all have a part to play in the deaths.
Children in Elizabethan time were bought up to respect and obey their parents. Children called their mum her “ladyship.” Girls were allowed to marry at twelve and boys at fourteen. Wives remained the property of their husband and were often treated as objects. “Women being the weaker vessels are ever thrust to the wall” Men were head of the household and women had to obey and respect them. In them days the plague was around which prevented Romeo getting the letter
Looking at the characters we can see how they might of influenced the outcome of the play. Romeo is a young impulsive boy; his maturity grows when he meets Juliet. Romeo is very shallow because at the banquet he is stunned by Juliet’s beauty that he immediately dumps Roseline. Romeo has “ne’er saw true beauty till this night,” and becomes dedicated to Juliet. Juliet is a young intelligent pretty girl. She was obedient and a respectable girl, until Romeo became the focus of her life. When she married Romeo she was prepared to take risks for love and was independent.
Friar Lawrence is a priest and it is his plan that went wrong and caused the final tragedy. Friar Lawrence gets too personally involved and goes out of character. He is too optimistic and over ambitious. He hopes the marriage will end the feuding of the two families.
The nurse treats Juliet as the daughter she once had. She is Juliet’s confidante and helper for the play. She makes us laugh and is an easy target.
Family values and hierarchy were important at that time. Lord Capulet, head of the household was a wealthy man and married a younger woman. Lady Capulet seems to think of marriage as a business, so she wants her daughter Juliet to get married as soon as possible. Lady Capulet is unsympathetic and unaffectionate to Juliet. Paris is a young, honourable man, but just assumes Juliet will love him. Traditionally in them days Paris went to Lord Capulet to ask him about his “suit”.
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At the Banquet Tybalt sees Romeo and is spoiling for a fight but Lord Capulet says Romeo “shall be endured” meaning left alone. Tybalt tries to disobey him, but Lord Capulet gets mad and shouts, “Am I the master here, or you?” He is stating his control. This then leads to the fight between Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo.
Loyalty is a huge factor for the outcome of the play. Mercutio picks a fight with Tybalt, who wants to fight Romeo. Romeo tries to prevent the fight, “Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage such a greeting. Villain am I none; therefore fare-well, I see thou knowest me not.” Romeo won’t fight with Tybalt because he has just married Juliet so Tybalt is his cousin, but he doesn’t know it. Mercutio at this stage steps in disgusted at Romeo for not fighting and takes Tybalt on himself. Mercutio is fatally wounded but describes it as “a scratch” and it is not as “deep as a well” nor as “wide as a church.” He then realises its bad and his going to die, so he tells Romeo tomorrow his a “grave man.” Mercutio died and Romeo blames himself. He finds Tybalt and shows “fire-ey’d fury” towards him he is loyal to his friend and kills Tybalt. When the Prince finds out he banishes Romeo from Verona. Neither family are willing to back down from the feud, and are willing to keep their families safe no matter what the consequences are.
Romeo and Juliet would of never meet if the servant Peter could of Read. He was sent to hand out invitations, but he couldn’t read the names. He stops Romeo to ask him to read the list. Romeo sees his love Rosaline the “all-seeing sun” a real beauty on the list and wants to go. The servant says, “If you be not the house of Montague’s, I pray come. Romeo then goes to the banquet disguised.
The Family feud was one of the main causes of the deaths of their beloved children. The feuds run down the households from Lords to servants, all taking the side of their employer. If there wasn’t a grudge than there wouldn’t of been a problem between the children getting married. At the start of the play two servants one from the Montague’s and another from the Capulet’s are quarrelling.
Religion is Juliet’s main excuse to get away and plan her life. Juliet is Catholic and gets to go to confession in private. Friar Lawrence is the priest that marries the lovers, he say the heavens will “smile” on there wedding. He also warns them “violent delights have violent ends.” Romeo and Juliet are like “gunpowder” meaning that they will destroy each other because the feuds. Friar Lawrence hopes that when the couple do go public that it will end their parent feuds.
Romeo and Juliet are responsible for their own fate. Romeo and Juliet meet at a banquet whilst exchanging complements to each other. Romeo talks of her beauty, “Juliet is like the sun.” “Arise the fair sun, and kill the envious moon.” He compares her to the sun indicating her beauty is as bright and vibrant as the sun overshadows the moon. They have a kiss when the nurse interrupts and they realise their families are enemies. Romeo and Juliet decide to put the feuds aside as it is less important than their love. Juliet says, “I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” Call me but love and I will “be new baptized.” Romeo and Juliet are head over heels in love but it is also a big adventure to them as they could both get caught out, with all the sneaking around and secrets. They also rush into marriage without properly thinking about it.
Romeo was banished for killing Tybalt and Juliet is really upset. Juliet is so in love with Romeo that she is willing to fake death to stop her marriage to Paris. When Juliet says she will marry Paris, Lord Capulet is happy. He says she is “reclaimed” and is not “wayward,” going out of control and is back on track. On the eve of the wedding Juliet takes a potion from the Friar to make it look as if she’s death. The Friar has sent a letter to Romeo telling him the plan. Juliet is nervous about taking the potion and mutters “god knows when we shall meet again, I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins that all most freezes up the heart of life,” So she is scare something might go wrong. Juliet also has concerns that she might not see Romeo again, but the biggest is if they put her body in the family “tomb.” Where all her “ancestors are buried.” The potion works a treat.
Haste is the last reason for the deaths. When Romeo hears Juliet’s dead he rushes to get poison where he describes money to be “worse poison to men’s souls.” When Romeo gets to the tomb, where he sees Paris and kills him. Romeo is in a hurry to died himself as he forces open the tomb’s “rotten jaws” to cram it with “more food” in other words his own body. Romeo drinks the poison next to Juliet body, then she awakens and its too late. Juliet then kills herself with a dagger, both their lives wasted in a matter of minutes.
The fact some people were very poor and would do anything for money meant that Romeo could get the poison. The apothecary “is so full of wretchedness” that he feared to break the law and risk the death penalty. Romeo describes the gold use to pay for the gold “worse poison to men’s souls’.” He then says “I sell thee poison, thou hast sold me none,” saying he won’t tell anyone where he got it from.
Through out the whole play one simple event would trigger another event off which lead to the final tragedy. Overall I think the family hierarchy, feud, loyalty and haste were the main blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. If the dad hadn’t arranged the marriage to Paris, Then Juliet wouldn’t have took the potion and Romeo wouldn’t have killed himself. The whole issue of time made the youngsters rush into things without properly thinking, there mistakes made the situation worse. Romeo killing Tybalt made Lord Capulet agree to the arranged marriage to Paris. In the end both household lost “a brace of kinsman.” They both paid a high price of death