How The Theme Of Conflict Is Presented In 'Romeo and Juliet'

How The Theme Of Conflict Is Presented In 'Romeo and Juliet'

  • Submitted By: Irfankhan
  • Date Submitted: 03/28/2013 11:28 PM
  • Category: English
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Discuss How The Theme Of Conflict Is Presented In 'Romeo and Juliet'

'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragedy and therefore it is essential to involve conflict. In this case, conflict is the central theme of the whole play, and Shakespeare presents it in many different ways. For example, not only is conflict shown in action, but also in language. Many different techniques are used to create the theme of conflict, and reflect the Elizabethan society. 

Conflict is first shown in the prologue, as it describes the "ancient grudge" the two households have on each other. It also mentions that "civil blood makes civil hands unclean", and "lovers take their life" which suggest there is physical conflict. As the prologue is a form of dramatic irony, the audience get an outlook on the rest of the play, and therefore get an idea that conflict is an essential theme.

Act One Scene One is the first time physical conflict is shown. Servants from the two households quarrel because Sampson, a Capulet, says, "I bite my thumb sir", which is an ancient Italian insult. As the two families already despise each other, a minor insult will immediately start a fight. This is exactly what happens, because Sampson says, "Draw if you be men", and then a brawl breaks out- "They fight". The speed of which the fighting started shows the audience that a row can break out anywhere at anytime. Then Benvolio from the house of Montague's steps in to try and stop the fight- "Part fools. Put up your swords", but Tybalt from the house of Capulet's arrives, and approaches Benvolio to start a fight- "Turn thee Benvolio and look upon thy death". A huge melee breaks out between the two households. Here, Shakespeare has presented conflict in a physical manner, to show the audience that the conflict between the two families is more than just verbal abuse.

Later on in the play another act of violence takes place, in Act Three Scene One. Tybalt comes looking for a brawl with Romeo, for being at the party-...

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