Throughout Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” fate plays a huge part, this usually involves Benvolio messing things up who ironically is the one trying to “keep the peace”. But it is the results of his efforts to cheer up Romeo which indirectly cause nearly every death in the play. Benvolio’s name derives from to Latin words, “Bene” which means to wish and “volio” which means well. “Star cross’d lovers” refers to any lovers whose affection for each other is doomed to end in tragedy. It is a romantic but tragic phrase just like the play.The prologue confirms that they are “Star-cross’d” lovers by setting the current situation and enlightens us about the family feud between the Capulets and the Montagues. The “Two Households” have had an “ancient grudge” which has lasted for generations. “Do with their death bury their parent’s strife”, the death of Romeo and Juliet is the only way for the two families to be in peace. The prologue is telling us that Romeo and Juliet are going to fall in love and cause even more trouble and hatred between the families, and that they are going to die which will end in the eventual peace between the two families. The love between them is going to end in death: “Death-marked love”. In my opinion it also appears that the only way Romeo and Juliet will find peace is in their death.The first scene starts with some male conflict between household servants from both families. The Capulet servants Sampson and Gregory are having a conversation in Verona and they express their hatred for the Montagues, including the Montague women by saying, “A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montagues”. Both sides seem to be more verbally than physically violent but, when a fight breaks out the Capulet servants turn out to be cowards.When Abraham questions Sampson about biting his thumb at him Samson denies it “No sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I do bite my thumb, sir”. Benvolio, who is Romeo’s good friend and a nephew of Montague, appears and makes an attempt at keeping the peace which nearly works until ruthless Tybalt comes storming in and, seeing Benvolio with his sword drawn, automatically assumes the worse and a fight breaks out between them. Tybalt’s arrival causes the situation to escalate because he has such a strong hatred for the Montagues “…..peace! I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:” The fact that Tybalt arrived when he did highlights the Star-cross’d theme of the story. Although Benvolio had tried to part the two sides Tybalts arrival had put a stop to this.I think the name Benvolio has come from the word Benevolent which means kind, helpful and charitable which is a perfect description of Benvolio’s character that would much rather that there was peace between the two families: “I do but keep the peace”. It is only when the prince intervenes that the civil brawl stops and Benvolio and Tybalt drop their weapons. This is followed by a long speech from the Prince who tells both sides that if a fight breaks out one more time their lives would be taken “If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of peace”.The tension between the families makes the situation all the worse for Romeo and Juliet: both sides are very passionate about the family conflict and neither is prepared to give in. Neither Romeo nor Juliet is yet introduced but we already realise that any relationship between two people of such opposed families is doomed.Away from all the conflict, when Romeo is introduced the mood of the story changes and becomes a lot calmer. The scene involves Romeo talking about Rosaline a girl whom he has never met, whom he is in love with but whom has sworn to live a life of chastity…… “She’ll not be hit with cupid’s arrow”. Romeo speaks of her very passionately although he has never met her which really reflects his personality. Romeos passion and ability to fall in love so quickly plays a big part in the story and keeps him and Juliet together until their bitter end.In scene two Lord Capulet is talking to Paris who is a Kinsman of the Prince, Capulet speaks about Paris marrying his daughter Juliet. Capulet promises Paris that in two years time when Juliet is sixteen he can have her as his bride “She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, let two more summers wither in their pride, ere we may think her right to be a bride.” Capulet would be happy to see her marry into such a rich and noble family although Juliet has had no say in this arrangement although this is not what Paris has been taught to believe.It is purely down to fate that Romeo ends up going to a feast hosted by the Capulets. Romeo is approached by a Capulet servant who is unable to read an invite to the feast “God gi’ god-en. I pray, sir, can you read?” Romeo agrees to read it for him and in return the servant invites him to the party “I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. Rest you merry! Romeo decides to go when Benvolio persuades him that other beauties of Verona will be there and that when he sees them he will realise that Rosaline is not so beautiful. Although the only reason he really wants to go is so that he can stare at her.I think Shakespeare cleverly grasps the audience’s attention in scenes one and two by showing the tension and hatred between the two families. We are slowly prepared for the anguish which will be destined if two people fall in love from the different families. Therefore love and hate play a big part in this story. However it is fate that they should meet and be together as Romeo should never have been at the party and Juliet was promised to marry Paris. All the conflict builds up and leads to the tragedy of the Star-cross’d lovers.
How does the first two scenes support the quote that Romeo and Juliet are “Star-cross’d Lovers” Essay
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