The play “Romeo and Juliet” begins with a prolonged outlining of the plot and ending of the play very blatantly. This is very unusual way to start a play by modern standards but in Shakespeare’s era starting a play in this way was not uncommon and was used very effectively. The prologue outlines the whole play in fourteen short lines. Informing the readers of the feud between the families and the situations of Romeo and Juliet and their fate.In the opening passage Romeo and Juliet are described as “star-crossed lovers”, this means they are doomed to failure or ill fated. The nature of the conflict is also reviewed in this chorus using simple descriptive terms; “ancient grudge” simply reveals the timescale of the problems between the families; “fatal loins” shows in a very graphic way how the feud is revolved around parents and which family people are born into, nothing else is considered.
This chorus summarises the whole play in five lines, although it is very hard to write a successful play when the outcome is told at the beginning Shakespeare manages to keep the audience interested throughout even though they are informed of how the play ends before it even starts. This approach towards the start of a play showed to audiences that they were going to witness a tragedy, society in the time of Shakespeare loved destruction and unhappy endings. Notice the last word of this quotation, Shakespeare shows discreetly how strong the bond is between the two lovers; he says they are one life.
“Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”This line shows obviously and simply that both families are from the same town but it is also implied in using the same word to describe the families that they are equals.Throughout the play, which takes place over only a few days, the two lovers meet, fall in love, marry in secret and die so that they can be with each other. The two die to be together because they belong to feuding families who would never let them see each other. There are many Things against the pair that make them doomed; all they have is their love of each other, and two people who understand their love and want to see them happy. The only people who see beyond the conflict and see the two as individuals instead of members of two different families.One of the major factors going against them is the long-lived feud between there two families.”Romeo, the love I bear thee can affordno better term than this – thou art a villain.
“This quotation is an example of the conflict between the families, Tybalt makes this statement to Romeo simply because Romeo and some of the other Montague’s attended a Capulet party. The families’ hatred of each other has been passed down for so long that no one knows how the feud started, all that is known is that it exists and is very evident in the Verona society, this plays a big part in the failure of Romeo and Juliet’s attempt to live happily together in the midst of all this discomfort. The language in this quotation is very clever as it states that even when Tybalt tries to love Romeo and find good in him the best description he can conjure is that of Romeo being a villain.Another problem faced by Romeo and Juliet is the attempts of their parents to arrange eligible matches for them, Juliet is arranged to marry Paris after she has secretly married Romeo, this is what causes her to fake her won death in order to be with her one true love. Montague and Lady Montague are expecting a relationship between Romeo and Rosaline. Society expects them to marry this variety of people associated with there own families and because the pair are both members of such powerful families it is hard for them to shake off these expectations.”The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,The county Paris, at St Peter’s church,Shall happily make thee a joyful bride.”The above quotation is the revelation of one of Romeo and Juliet’s greatest problems, the threat of being forced to commit bigamy moves closer to Juliet putting more pressure on her to make a decision than in any previous point in the play.
What seems unusual when comparing marriage arrangements to today is that Juliet is not asked of her opinion on marrying Paris, she is told and not allowed to think for herself, she will be a joyful bride whether she likes it or not.A problem facing the pair they brought on themselves is the secretiveness. Their relationship can never proceed well if it is all undercover of the outside world and both Romeo’s and Juliet’s families’. The only people they have to confide in are the nurse and Friar Lawrence. And even these two people cannot both be trusted, in Scene Five she attempts to persuade Juliet into committing bigamy and marrying Paris.
“O he’s a lovely gentleman.Romeo’s a dishclout to him;”In this quotation the nurse is very insensitive towards Juliet, criticising her husband and comparing him to another man. In Juliet’s eyes no man alive compares to her Romeo, the nurse does not see how strong this bond is and so thinks Juliet should ignore it and get on with her life as a Capulet while Romeo is banished and heartbroken. Another side to the nurse is seen in this scene, an insensitive side that sees things in a very shallow way.
She does not see the power of their love and how it must overcome all obstacles to succeed, even if death is one of these obstacles, it must be tackled. Being betrayed by one of her few trustworthy friends must be very emotionally crippling for Juliet.Another problem facing the couple of which is totally their own fault is their foolishness. They are young, in love and irrational; evidence of this is presented when Romeo kills Tybalt. It jeopardized his whole life and was partly responsible for suicide of the lovers. Although the argument that Romeo committed this deed in a fit of rage at the killing of his best friends is a valid one, he does have time to contemplate his reaction to his friend’s murder. He decides to chase Tybalt and slay him, this is a very unintelligent decision. It does no bring back his friend, it threatens his life and his marriage, banishment should be considered as lucky.
“This but begins the woe others must end.”In this quotation Romeo makes clear he will not let Tybalt go, he will take the law into his own hands. He is foolish because there were many witnesses to the murder and Tybalt would have been punished heavily for his deeds. They feel there love is strong enough to overcome anything that stands in their way; they are overconfident and thus irrational.
I imagine that this would be a very powerful scene in the play, with an extremely calm serious tone coming from Romeo, contrasted with the shouts and panic of the crowd nursing to the body of Romeo’s best friend.The power of their love is also shown when Romeo slays Tybalt in Act Three; even in the murder of her cousin Juliet does not even consider saying a bad word about her husband. She loves him so much she simply mourns the death of her cousin pinning no blame on Romeo,”My dearest cousin, and my dearer lord?”The quotation above uses comparative language to show the reader how greatly Juliet regard her lover, even when he murders her dearest cousin he is still placed higher in her heart. Although she still regards him highly and does not reconsider her love for Juliet she does sense the scale of what he has done.”Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical,”This quotation shows how through his fault she can still see the good in Romeo, this use of positive and negative together really emphasizes how the killer is viewed in Juliet’s heart, notice that the positive thought is left until the end, leaving it fresh in the mind. This quotation would have been acted out very emotionally to get the right message across, Juliet would be saying this very loud and suggestively, as if trying to contact help from God.Coincidence also plays a deciding role in the fate of the pair, although it seems like a small incident and is not accounted for greatly in the text; the failure of the messenger reaching Romeo in Mantua is the sole reason for him killing himself when he sees Juliet in her state of unreal death.
The whole play would have turned differently if this had not occurred. The coincidence in the play is presented in a very subtle way probably designed for the audience member not even to note its significance.Juliet’s feelings of inescapability are shown through in Act three Scene five when she is forced to marry Paris, she knows she has no way of escaping her parents and so she tells them she will take her won life if this wedding is not at least postponed. This though does not discourage her father from making the arrangements.
“Delay this marriage for a month, a weekOr if you do not, make the bridal bedIn that dim monument where Tybalt lies.”The language of this quotation is very strong and precise, it shows that Juliet is not bluffing to her father, she will commit this act if forced to marry, is also shows that on top of her love problems she is still mourning her cousin Tybalt. The fact that the pair are born into hatred also adds to the sense of inescapability, they cannot escape there family history, they are born into hatred.Romeo and Juliet’s situation could have probably been avoided if only they knew the family backgrounds of one another before they fell in love. If it were not love at first sight they would have been sensible enough to move on in life and forget about each other.
The main culprit for them being star-crossed and doomed in that of fate. However hard they try to make there marriage work it never can, something always goes wrong; they have no control over there lives. This makes all the other evidence seem irrelevant but this evidence is the work of fate in the play. This is how everything goes wrong for the two and they fail to succeed.
After reviewing all the evidence I have come to the obvious conclusion that yes, the chorus is right to state them as star crossed lovers, all they have in there favour is love and friendship. Everyone bar two people and everything is against them, they cannot do anything right and they end up taking there own lives to be together.Some good does come from these deaths though, it makes the families see how petty this feud is and it brings peace into Verona after hundreds of years of conflict.
The two lovers are martyrs to the family Capulet and Montague; they must die to keep the peace.