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Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Essay

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was a very famous play and it upholds its reputation to date with many modern interpretations. There are many themes in the play, which I noticed within the first act. These are love, sex, marriage and conflict. I will explore how Shakespeare includes these themes, the significance of them, and whether the trinity of love, sex, and marriage is needed for a relationship to exist.The first theme I will explore is Conflict; this is made very obvious at the very opening of the play. In Act 1 Scene 1 a fight breaks out between the houses of Montague and Capulet. These two families have always had a hatred for each other, which has existed for a long time. The fight is started between the servants from the Capulet house, Sampson and Gregory, who provoke Abram and Balthasar of the Montague house.”Do you bite your thumb at us sir?” Abram questions Sampson who had bit his thumb as a provocation. To bite your thumb was an insult in Shakespearian times. This act simply continues the long feud that the houses of Montague and Capulet have always had. This fight shows a very large over all conflict between the two houses and shows how Shakespeare includes conflict very early on.Another conflict that is displayed is in Act1 Scene 5, when Romeo attends the masked party at the Capulet’s house, and Tybalt, cousin to Lord Capulet, recognises his voice, and asks for his sword but is refused by Lord Capulet.”Fetch me my rapier” Tybalt asks his slave for a sword.”Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone” Lord Capulet tells Tybalt to calm himself so that the party wouldn’t have been ruined. If he had not interfered, there would have been much blood shed. By Shakespeare putting this in the play, he his showing again that the hatred between the families and certain individuals bears a lot of conflict.There is also a slight conflict between Tybalt and Lord Capulet within their own family. After Lord Capulet tells Tybalt not to take action against Romeo and to calm his anger he says;”I’ll not endure him.” Lord Capulet becomes quite outraged by his defiance and shouts, “Am I the master here or you?” Tybalt finally withdraws and leaves the party in a rage. This is another way in which conflict is included within the first act and shows that this conflict can exist even within their family. The significance of conflict in the play is not only the feud between the two families but the conflict between the two families makes it harder for Romeo and Juliet to later be honest about their love.The subject of Marriage in the play is first present in Act 1 Scene 2 when the noble young kinsmen of the Prince, Paris, asks Lord Capulet for his daughters hand in marriage. At the time of this play it was traditional for a man to ask for the father’s permission to marry.”what say you to my suit?” queries Paris , Lord Capulet then later replies that Juliet has “not yet seen the change of fourteen years”, meaning that he believes that she is probably too young for marriage, although, at the time it was possible to marry quite young. This is also an arranged marriage, which Shakespeare has included in the play; this marriage shows how that a marriage could take place without love, as Paris and Juliet have not even met at this point, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it would work, as we later find out in the story.The theme of Love appears in the very prologue of the tale, the chorus tells us that amidst the fighting between the two prominent families, a “pair of star-cross’d lovers” will take their lives. This very opening shows that love will play a main part throughout Romeo and Juliet and that it is a powerful emotion, making it quite a significant theme.The theme of Love also appears at the end of Act 1 Scene 1 when Romeo talks to Benvolio about Rosaline, and how much he loves her and he claims, “Thou canst not teach me to forget”, as he believes he cannot get over the love that he has for that woman, but it seems she does not reciprocate and she has agreed to chastity, so the likely hood of a relationship is slim.However sad Romeo seems now, he completely forgets about Rosaline when he meets Juliet. Act 1 Scene 5.”O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright”. This shows that Romeo is awestruck by her beauty and he is filled with passion. This begs the question does true love exist? When Romeo swore he would never forget Rosaline, he simply moved on at the sight of Juliet, or is he just a passionate man? Or is the love of him and Juliet so strong that “love at first sight” truly exists? I believe that love does play a significant part as the prologue introduces it and that Romeo and Juliet do share true love as they also share a sonnet together. A sonnet is a poetic form associated with love:Romeo: “Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.”Juliet: “Then move out, while my prayer’s effect I take.”The final theme I will cover is the physical act of love. This appears when Gregory and Sampson are having manly banter about what they would do to the Capulet maids in Act 1 Scene 1.Sampson: ” ’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.”This is an innuendo towards the male anatomy and shows that the theme of sex is present as they talk of it but it’s an innuendo as it could not be directly meant in a crude manor and can have a double meaning.The theme of sex also appears again when Romeo mentions that Rosaline has agreed to chastity.Ben: “Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste”Romeo: “She hath..”It seems that in Romeo’s belief he thinks that there is no chance of having a relationship with her if sex is not possible, so to him, I believe sex is important and is need for a relationship to exist.58/

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