Romeo and Juliet: Tragic Tale of Ill-Starred Lovers
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, develops around the ill-fated love affair between Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague, the children of two feuding families in Verona, Italy. The play is set in the era of the Renaissance, which is prominently shown through the politics and societal upbringings. Romeo and Juliet fall deeply in love within minutes of knowing each other, blissfully unaware of their family rivalry. Their love is deeply subversive to of the existing social ladder, as they marry in secret the next day. The parents of Romeo and Juliet, who, as is customary, reserve the right to decide their children’s future marriage partners, are unaware of the union. This ultimately comes into play when Juliet is introduced to a new suture. Their desperate attempts of love fall short, and ultimately leads to their deaths. In the end, the death of Romeo and Juliet was caused by family conflict.
Shakespeare shows that family conflict is to blame through Juliet’s relationship with her mother and father. In the play, Juliet is subjected to finding a man, and is pressured into marriage. This is shown when Lady Capulet questions Juliet on her perspective of marriage. After being displeased by Juliet’s reluctance to wed, she reminds her that she should appreciate her father finding a suitable man such as Count Paris. Juliet, in response, replies, “I look to like, looking liking move; but no more will I endart mine eye than your consent gives me to make it fly.” (1.3.100-101). In effect, Juliet tells her mother she will follow her advice in thinking about Paris, but nothing more. Juliet is pressured by her mother to think about Paris as her husband, before she can even think about marriage. Furthermore, another example of family conflict between Juliet and her parents is when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. The Capulets are mourning the death of Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, while Juliet is in despair over Romeo’s banishment from Verona. Capulet makes plans for Juliet and Paris to wed, but he is taken aback when Juliet, newlywed to Romeo, refuses to marry him. Beside himself, Capulet asks Juliet why she is ungrateful and a spoiled brat. He then continues to tell Juliet he will force her to marry Paris.“To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church, or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green sickness, carrion! Out, you baggage! You tallow face!” (3.5.153-158). Feeling betrayed and hopeless, a desperate Juliet makes her way to Friar Lawrence, looking for any solution to her problems. Additionally, we can see family conflict between Juliet and her parents when Capulet rushes her marriage, sending Juliet into a panic. Capulet, in an attempt to calm Juliet’s excessive crying, decides to have her wedding on Thursday of the same week. Hearing this from none other than Paris himself, Juliet is desperate to find a way out of the marriage, even if it leads to her death. Juliet exclaims to Friar Lawrence, “If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help, do thou but call my resolution wise, and with this knife i’ll help it presently.” (4.1.53-55). In the end, Juliet’s conflict with her parents is a strong factor that leads to the death of both her and Romeo.
Furthermore, Shakespeare shows that family conflict is to blame through the long-lasting feud between the Montagues and Capulets. This is shown when Romeo and Juliet are forced to keep their love affair secret. The Montague and Capulet family are both of high stature in Verona, Italy. The families long lasting feud is troublesome to the people of Verona, as they commonly get into arguments and sword-fights in the middle of town. Romeo and Juliet, knowing that their love will never last if their parents found out, agree to marry in secret. This unadvised union is the beginning of Romeo and Juliet’s troubles. “Romeo, dof thy name, and for that name, which is no part of thee take all myself.”(2.2.47-49). In effect, Juliet tells Romeo that the only thing keeping them apart are their families. Romeo and Juliet’s secret union causes tension amongst the Montagues and Capulets, which ultimately leads to their deaths. Furthermore, another example of family conflict between the Montagues and Capulets is Romeo’s banishment after killing Tybalt, the cousin of Juliet. In an attempt to avenge his friend Mercutio, Romeo kills Tybalt with his sword. Blinded by his anger, Romeo is unaware of the consequences that follow his actions, and he flees the scene. In the end, Romeo’s banishment after killing Tybalt is at the hands of the Capulets. “I beg for justice, which thou, Prince must give. Romeo slew Tybalt. Romeo must not live.”(3.1.176-177). In effect, Lady Capulet tells the Prince that Romeo should be killed for the death of her nephew. Ultimately, the fight was provoked by Tybalt, after discovering Romeo had crashed a Capulet party. Romeo’s banishment brings Juliet into a life-threatening depression. To conclude, the feud between the Montague and Capulets is a driving factor in the death of Romeo and Juliet.
On the other hand, some might argue that Romeo’s banishment was caused by fate. If Tybalt had not killed Mercutio, Romeo, blinded by his own rage, would not have killed Tybalt. However, they did, resulting in Romeo’s banishment. In discovering the death of Tybalt and his relative, Mercutio, the Prince exclaims, “And for that offense, immediately we do exile him hence.” (3.1.183-184). This quote depicts Romeo’s fate of being sentenced to a life outside of the city of Verona. He would no longer be able to stay in touch with Juliet, which in the end, turns out to have a significant effect.
In conclusion, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a poignant tale that follows the ill-fated love affair between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Ultimately, their death was caused by family conflict amongst Juliet and her parents, and the long-lasting feud between the Montague and Capulet family. This devastating love story comes to an end as Romeo and Juliet lay dead, in the Capulet tomb. “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (5.3.309-310).
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