The potential for tragedy is revealed through oppositions at the start of Romeo and Juliet Free essay! Download now
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The potential for tragedy is revealed through oppositions at the start of Romeo and Juliet
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| Words: 2330 | Submitted: 18-Apr-2011
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DescriptionHow the first act of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet foreshaddows the tragedy to come for the lovers.
‘The potential for tragedy is revealed through oppositions at the start of Romeo and Juliet’. What oppositions are revealed in the first act of the play and how do they prepare us for the tragedy to follow?
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous plays ever written, riddled with oppositions of love, fate, peace and romance. The conflicts of oppositions and decisions are as fundamental as the conflict of the Montague and Capulets to which is the basis of the story. These oppositions help to lead the audience to the tragedy of the ending, which they already know will follow.
An Elizabethan tragedy always included four things; these four things made it clear to the audience what type of production they are about to witness. An aristocratic hero, though in the case of Romeo and Juliet there is also an aristocratic heroine. This character also must have a flaw in their personality for this is the second trait of a tragedy. For the character Romeo his flaw is that he does not think through is actions and lets his emotions override his common sense, for him and Juliet a flaw is that they both fall in love to fast. These flaws lead to Romeo’s downfall, the third trait, which ultimately ends in his expulsion from the city. The events that follow this result in fulfilling the final of the four things, the death of the hero and heroine.
The prologue talks about the feud between the two families which is from an ‘ancient grudge’ caused so long ago that neither family can remember the cause. The Montagues and Capulets are equally powerful in the city of ‘fair Verona’, the two families are ‘both alike in dignity’, which works to fulfilling the requirement of the hero and heroine being aristocracy. This grudge means that the fate of the lovers is doomed from birth as they are destined to die. However their death helps end the feud that previously ‘nought could remove’. The prologue also describes Romeo and Juliet as ‘star-crossed lovers’ thus already revealing their weakness, which leads to their untimely demise, to the audience.
Shakespeare wrote the prologue as a sonnet to show his appreciation of his favourite poet Ovid, the Latin poet known for his sonnets. Sonnets are often the structure of a poem about love this is different to most poetry in the Elizabethan era as most was about God or religion.
A reoccurring theme throughout Romeo and Juliet is the idea of fate. Mentioned first in the prologue, Romeo and Juliet are ‘star-crossed lovers’ meaning they had no choice in whether they fell in love, it was simply their destiny. Their life and meeting was already laid out ...
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