The folllowing sample essay on How Does Shakespeare Present Conflict In Romeo And Juliet discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
The play starts with Act 1 Scene 1 where the people from the house of Capulet and Montague start arguing in the streets of Verona (where the scene is set.) This argument hopefully draws the audience’s attention. After this is the party where Romeo and Juliet meet and in this scene all the other characters are introduced.
Almost immediately after is the wedding of Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo goes straight to the public place to meet his friends, but also meets Tybalt and his fellow house mates. Tybalt wants a fight but Romeo doesn’t because he wants to resolve the conflict but Tybalt doesn’t want to resolve anything he likes the conflict. A fight takes place and Tybalt kills Mercutio (Romeo’s very close friend) and so Romeo kills Tybalt in order to satisfy his honour and from this point on everything that happens in the rest of the play sets of a chain of events and is inevitable.
In this play there are lots of different character relationships and conflicts, the first are the two main characters Romeo and Juliet. Everything they do is in opposition to everybody else in their family, because they are in love. “More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!” They got married in hope that their family would stop fighting, but Romeo killed Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) and is banished.
“I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear, it shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate…” this is when she is talking to her mother about her hate for Romeo who killed her cousin Tybalt, but we know that she is in love and married to Romeo. Her mother thinks she wants revenge but most of the things she says have a double meaning. “…to wreak the love I bore my cousin upon his body that slaughter’d him!” She is saying that the love she has for her cousin is now with the person who slaughtered him.
Benvolio and Tybalt are always in conflict because Benvolio (Romeo’s cousin) always wants peace but Tybalt hates peace “…as I hate hell, all Montague’s…” They are total opposites it’s as if Benvolio is the Good Angel and Tybalt is the Bad Angel.
Romeo and Tybalt are also in conflict this starts when Romeo gate crashes the Capulet’s party, Tybalt is angry; he feels insulted and wants revenge. But he seeks for it at the wrong time right after Romeo has married Juliet. Tybalt calls him “… a villain.” but Romeo says “Tybalt… I have to love thee… villain am I none…” As Tybalt doesn’t know that Romeo and Juliet have just got married he is wondering what Romeo is talking about, this makes him angrier and leads to a fight, were Tybalt kills Mercutio, and Romeo chases Tybalt and kills him in revenge.
Shakespeare used Tybalt to bring out all of the conflict, which is why he is in conflict with a lot of people.
Juliet and her Father are in conflict because Juliet just got married to Romeo and her father doesn’t know. He wants her to marry Count Paris but because she is in love and married to Romeo she refuses. She says “Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have: proud can I never be of what I hate…” her she means that she is thankful to her father for setting her up with Paris but she is proud because she’d hate to marry someone who she doesn’t love. Her father replies “What is this… thank me no thanking, nor proud me no prouds…” because he is confused about what she is saying to him. He also says “… young baggage!” Disobedient wretch!” he curses her because he thinks she is been disrespectful and ungrateful “… my fingers itch… we scarce thought us blest that God had lent us but this only child; but now I see this one child is one too much… we have a curse in having her…”I wish to smack you. This tells us that their father – daughter relationship is like the relationships fathers and daughters have these days, and that’s probably the way other fathers treated their daughters in the 17th century. Juliet’s father thought he was doing the right thing by her and his family; he wanted his only child to marry a rich person with a good family status. He’s a patriarch, an overbearing father.
On stage Romeo acts more like a thoughtful person, he doesn’t ever want to fight anyone for any reason he is always trying to resolve the feud. He said “I do protest I never injured thee…” when Tybalt wanted to fight him and “…beat down their weapons.” when Mercutio wanted to fight Tybalt he tried to tell Mercutio not to fight and to put down his swords.
Juliet acts like she lets her heart rule over her head, she should wear bright coloured clothes to show that she is usually jolly happy and in love, and always uses words or phrases with more than one meaning. She says “Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.”
Benvolio acts like a peace person never looking for trouble and always trying to avoid, he should wear light blue things to show he is peaceful. “… let’s retire: the day is hot, the Capulet’s abroad, and, if we meet, we shall not escape a brawl…” he was trying to get Mercutio to leave in order to avoid running into the Capulet’s.
Tybalt acts like a little devil he is always looking for trouble and being mischievous, should wear black or red things to express himself. He said “… this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.” when Romeo has said that he wasn’t a villain and that he had “… to love thee…”
Mercutio is the joker he can never stop making jokes, mocking someone or fooling around, whenever he’s around people must laugh; he should wear clown clothes to reflect his part more. “Could you not take some occasion without giving?” at this point in the play he is scorning Tybalt.
Juliet’s father acts like the big boss, he owns everything and anything under his name and he wants to make sure you know that, he should wear something that would make people take him serious. “… baggage!” he called his daughter an item.
The play is structured in a way in which builds up the tension and action in the play. Starting with the prologue which is an introduction to the play. In Act 1 Scene 1 is set in a public place where men of the house of Montague and Capulet have a brawl, this increases the tension in the play and attracts the audience. Then the party where Juliet and Romeo meet followed by the wedding, which makes things between everyone very tense. This leads to Romeo leaving the wedding (Act 3 Scene 1)meeting his friends (Mercutio), Tybalt and some men of the Capulet house in the middle of a fight, in this scene Tybalt kills Mercutio and Romeo kills Tybalt. Then Romeo is banished straight after this is an agreement between Juliet and her father about her marrying Count Paris. And the potion plan between Friar Lawrence and Juliet. Part of this plan is to send a letter to Romeo to inform him of everything that is going on but this letter goes missing (this is the point where I think everything is inevitable.) Romeo hears from a source that his wife is dead not having received the letter he believes this. So he buys a poison and swallows it just at this moment Juliet wakes up, finds out what has happened and kills herself on the account that her husband is dead, this puts an end to their family’s conflict.
At 3:1 every one has mixed (different) emotions. Romeo happily in love, Tybalt wanting to gain revenge, Benvolio wanting to create peace as usual and Mercutio making jokes and feeling betrayed like he has to be loyal to his friends. What ever happens in 3:1 sets off what happens in the rest of the play? This is what happens in all of Shakespeare’s plays, so this makes it more certain that from this point when Tybalt kills Mercutio that something much worse will take place.
When Romeo and Juliet speak they mainly use opposites or use words with more than one meaning this express the kind of conflict they’re in e.g. at the beginning of the play when Romeo has a go at Benvolio about having a fight, Romeo says “…much to do with hate, but more with love. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first create!” At this stage Romeo is at conflict with himself because he’s just broken up with Roseline. He is trying say you can’t have one without the other trying to mix them both, which we know you can’t do, he tries saying with love comes a bit of hate and vice versa. Another example is that you get good things but bad things come with it another way of saying this that all good things come to an end.
Romeo also says “O heavy lightness! Serious Vanity!” he means that with love comes good which makes you light hearted and light headed but then comes bad feelings which make you feel heavy and puts you down.
I think Shakespeare’s motives for writing this play were because he wanted to show people in the 17th century the way he sees them behave the way they treat each other, the relationships parents have with their children, killing each other for petty reasons and have agreements with people which they wouldn’t let die because of their pride. For example when Mercutio was killed, he wasn’t part of the Capulets or Montagues and still his life was taken, he wasn’t involved and probably didn’t know how they fight started but he was still killed. Another example is when Juliet and her father are agreeing the things he says to her e.g. “…young baggage!” her father is calling her his baggage his own possession that she belongs to him and he can do as he wants with her.
However we must remember that Shakespeare made it action packed and entertaining in order to sell tickets to make living.