Love Cannot Conquer Conflict
Many people lead their lives by the theory that love conquers all. William Shakespeare disproves this theory in his classic play Romeo and Juliet by using the theme of conflict. “Conflict is the problem or struggle in a story that triggers the action” (VanderMey, 384). Shakespeare develops three different types of conflicts in his work, Romeo and Juliet. The problems encountered by the characters include: person vs. person, person vs. self, and person vs. fate. With a central element such as conflict, Shakespeare verifies that love indeed, cannot conquer conflict.
The first type of conflict displayed is person vs. person. The most obvious person vs. person conflict is between the families of the Monatgues and the Capulets. With a feud that predates the beginning of the play, the families hinder Romeo and Juliet from becoming the “star-crossed” lovers they desire to be. Juliet states “My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! / Prodigious birth of love it is to me, / That I must love the loathed enemy” (1.5.143-145). Also, Mercutio and Tybalt clash in an actual “battle” that leads to Mercutio’s untimely death. This conflict also causes Romeo to kill Tybalt which subsequently leads to Romeo being exiled from the city. Another person vs. person conflict appears in Act V, where Paris duels with Romeo. “O, I am slain!” Paris cries as he lies lifeless as a result of this person vs. person conflict (5.3.72). In the end, person vs. person conflict helps reiterate that love cannot conquer conflict.
Many characters fight their consciences at points during the play. This is called a person vs. self conflict. To begin the play, Romeo’s inability to recover from Rosaline forces him to remain in a state of depression. “…I have lost myself; I am not here / This is not Romeo, he’s some other where” (1.1.188-189). In contrast, Juliet consciously feels that she is immoral when she agrees to marry County...