William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
There are many oppositions in Romeo and Juliet and I am going to explore the oppositions that I think are the most important to the play. The oppositions have a marked effect on the play and cause some of the turning points in the play such as the fight scene where Tybalt and Mercutio are killed. There are also clashes of oppositions such as when Romeo tries to love Tybalt in the fight scene in Act 3 scene 1. This shows the oppositions of love and hate coming to a sharp focus. In another sense, the clashing of oppositions also happens in oxymoron. The play begins with a dramatic and exciting fight scene, which serves to show is the world that Romeo and Juliet?s love is situated in is a world where chaos and violence rule. This is very much about the hate and honour of the two families and it is also linked to the opposition of private and public. This fight scene does the dual purpose of capturing the attention of the audience, but also introduce us to the major opposition: that of Montague versus Capulet.
The whole play is based upon the ?ancient grudge? that is shared by these two ?households both alike in dignity?. The way in which the fight is portrayed in the Luhrman film, with the petrol station, guns and the background of heavy rock music, emphasised the fast paced excitement of the scene and it is also very good at attracting our attention. The shift of the play from public to private scenes is symbolic of the other tension in the play such as: the loyalty of groups, like Montague and Capulets versus the loyalty of individuals towards each other such as Romeo and Juliet killing themselves so they could be together; as well as the freedom of personal love versus the constraints of social life. For example the hidden marriage between Romeo and Juliet as their parents wouldn?t have let them marry someone from the enemy. And the last tension is the male dominance versus the vision of equality of the sexes seen in the love of Romeo and Juliet. In Shakespearian times, the man was the leader of the household as he made the money, he was head of the house. Nowadays, both male and female work and make money and that vision of male dominance is less. Romeo and Juliet have this modern vision as they are so in love with each other, they don?t really notice much else and spend all the time wondering about the other person such as when Romeo is banished and they are always talking about the other, ?Unless philosophy can make a Juliet?, even in Romeo?s darkest hour, he still thinks about Juliet. The scene also highlights another oppositions that was used by Shakespeare in the structure of the play: that of private and public. Shakespeare orders the scenes of the play so that dramatic and action-filled scenes that involve many characters are interspersed with very private and intimate scenes between two characters. There are also scenes such as act scene 5 when Romeo and Juliet meet and there is a very intimate scene in a very crowded and sort of public area where there are lots of people. The most obvious of these private scenes are those that involve the two young lovers, Romeo and Juliet. A prime example of the Juxtaposition of such scenes is the Capulet party, which is followed swiftly by one of the most famous love duets in history, the balcony scene between Romeo and Juliet. Of course another major oppositions in the play is that of Love and hate. Many characters and various other oppositions are linked to this opposition. It is interesting to examine the character of Romeo and his involvement with love. At the start, Romeo is shown as a young man who is desperately in love. Although he is in love, he isn?t in love with Juliet but Rosaline.It affects his behaviour so much that his father is concerned for him and says that ?many a morning has he been seen, with tears augmenting the morning?s dew? which means that Romeo has been crying but Montague doesn?t know the cause of his reason for crying. Although there is the love between father and son, Montague doesn?t actually talk to Romeo himself and asks Benvolio to do it for him. this links to another type of love, that of parent and children. The love between parents and children is not as strong as the love between Romeo and Juliet. In those times, rich parents weren?t as connected to their children as they are know as the parents had servants which looked after all the household work and the children so the parent doesn?t have to bother. Also, parents expect their children to listen and obey then as shown in the scene when Capulet wants Juliet to marry Paris. Romeo at the start has a very overwrought and melodramatic love for Rosaline Romeo is clearly very mixed up and compares being in love to being ?shut up in a prison, kept without my food, whipt and tormented.? He is describing loving someone but that person doesn?t want him, and he is very unhappy and the anguish he is feeling is terrible. He has tried all the conventional approaches like ?th?encounter of assailing eyes, nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.? The gifts of money did not woo Rosaline say yes and he is heartbroken. Despite all of this rejection, Romeo says his love is like ?the devout religion of mine eye ?transparent heretics, be burnt for liars? and anyone who denies it is a ?heretic? or false believer. Despite all this Romeo in Act 2 scene 3 is declaring to the friar he has ?forgot that name, and that name?s woe and is married to Juliet in Act 2 scene 6. Fashionable young men and women at the time considered that such thoughts and feelings were suitable for true love. Tybalt is the main person that is the main source of hate. Only he seems to genuinely hate the Montague. What I mean is that he is the person that always want to fight and Benvolio is the person that is like the direct opposite of Tybalt as he tries to keep the peace. Also Lord Capulet and Montage also want to fight each other as they shout for their ?long swords?, however they can be restrained, Tybalt however cannot which suggests that Tybalt?s belief in the honour code and hatred of the Montagues may be stronger than any of the other characters. The first appearance of Tybalt he appears with Benvolio and they are in direct contrast with each other. Only Tybalt says that he ?hate hell?, which in Shakespearian times shows, the depth of his hatred. Tybalt?s pride and reputation and love of his family and family name comes into conflict with Romeo?s love for Mercutio and his love for Juliet in the act 3 scene 1 fight scene. Before and during Shakespearian times, a person?s pride and reputation were particularly important. A person would feel very proud to have a famous and respected name and will follow the honour code to ensure that their honour was upheld. If a family member is insulted or injured, that family will seek revenge as when Tybalt was slain, Lady Capulet shouted that since ?Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.? In this way, a family feud could go on for generations, as do the Capulet and Montague feud. When Tybalt wants to fight Romeo but Romeo would not draw, it may have been a dent to Tybalt?s honour that Romeo would not satisfy him and fight. When Tybalt sees Romeo and says ?thou art a villain, Romeo should have been very angry as Tybalt has attacked Romeo?s honour. He doesn?t attack Tybalt and tries to placate him, as they are now kinsman. However Mercutio could not understand why Romeo would not fight and so attacks Tybalt. That is why I think love has a lot to do with the deaths of most of the characters. As Mercutio is Romeo?s friend he cannot bear the fact that his friend is being attacked and is offering no resistance and so steps in getting himself killed. Romeo does not attack Tybalt as he knows that they are now kin and tries to love Tybalt and asks Tybalt to ?be satisfied.? Tybalt dies because of Romeo?s attempt to love him as a brother and the friendly love between two close friends. The honour code that controls the two families destroys Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio, Tybalt and Paris. The selflessness of Romeo and Juliet, both in love and willing to die and do die for reach other is a strong contrast to the hate that is in Verona. The sacrifice of their lives to be with each other does actually bring the two families together as the two lovers are the families? most precious things in the parents? lives , the next generation and their heirs. Life and death is linked to love and hate and I think is also a very important opposition in Romeo and Juliet. There are also many mentions of death and Juliet?s ?grave is like to be her wedding bed?, is said before Juliet discovers that Romeo is a Montague. It is horribly ironic that she would say this as it comes true. Also Lady Capulet also says that she would ?the fool were married to her grave in act 3 scene 5. Again this is also very ironic because soon Juliet will be married and be dead. And it is even more ironic that on the day that is Juliet and Paris?s wedding day is when Juliet is put in her family tomb although Juliet isn?t dead yet, it seems to everyone accept for the friar that she is dead which is what causes the death of Romeo, Juliet and Paris. And ?Cruel death? and ?Detestable death? are also mentioned. When Romeo and Juliet are described as ?star crossed lovers? what they are actually saying is that their love is doomed not to succeed and it doesn?t. I think it is also important that after of before every one of Romeo and Juliet?s meeting; there is some hate and death going on. For instance the big fight scene is followed by the first ever meeting of the two lovers. The wedding s followed by Tybalt and Mercutio?s death and the last meeting of the two lovers is when they both die. I think that Shakespeare meant to include love and hate scenes after each other to remind us of the world that Romeo and Juliet?s love is located in and reminders of his ?star crossed lovers? which may be to suggest that the Love is not going to work out and it doesn?t. The love between the characters may have killed them as I have said earlier, the love that Juliet and Lady Montague had for Romeo may have need the reason for their death. Shakespeare may have done this to remind us about the dangers of living in those times. Oxymoron is a very important thing in Romeo and Juliet as it is used a lot but also the fact that the oxymoron is formed from two oppositions such as ?loving hate? it shows that a person is confused and I think is relevant to oppositions. Fate and free will is another major opposition that is in Romeo and Juliet. At the prologue we hear about Romeo and Juliet being ?a pair of star crossed lovers?. This phrase means that the twp lovers are doomed not to succeed and they do have an enormous amount of bad luck. Friar John got stuck on his way to deliver the message, Friar Lawrence arrived at the tomb just a fraction too late to warn Romeo that Juliet was still alive. Romeo and Juliet could also have had some good luck as well. It is fortunate that Tybalt didn?t kill Romeo and Romeo and Juliet met each other at the party. Of course this good luck contributes to the main tragedy ending and shouldn?t really be good luck for Romeo and Juliet anyway. The belief that fate determines the actions of the characters is mentioned throughout the play. Romeo fears that fate has something bad in store for him if he goes to Capulet?s ball and his ?mind missives some consequence yet hanging in the stars?. Juliet also fears for Romeo?s future and Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low/As one dead in the bottom of the tomb. Romeo and Juliet tries to break Fate?s hold on them and ?defy you [fate]? although they inevitably still do something that they regret and they are ?fortune?s fool?. Language and reality is another opposition in this play of oppositions. This oppositions is about what is real and what is just thoughts such as when Juliet says ?a rose by any other word would smell just as sweet? meaning that no matter what something is called, it will still be the same thing. Shakespeare was very interested in the relationship between word and their meaning. In Romeo and Juliet, he shows that as soon as Tybalt hears the sound of Romeo?s voice, Tybalt was blind with hatred. Even though this feud has something to do with the families? honour, this generation of Montagues and Capulets may not be the same type of people as their ancestors. Shakespeare shows the difference between words and actions, between feelings learned out of a book and emotions learned from experience. This is shown when Lady Capulet compares Paris to a book. Light and dark imagery is used a lot in the play. When Juliet is waiting for Romeo, she aches for the sun to go down and ?bring in cloudy night immediately?. And when Romeo sees Juliet?s beauty making the ?vault a feasting presence full of light. The light and dark imagery is mainly used to describe the characters.

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet 9.4 of 10 on the basis of 1727 Review.