Romeo and Juliet Essays
Romeo and Juliet Essays
This is the essay I wrote when I completed my study of R + J
Many people in the 20th century look to suicide as a way out. Two star-crossed lovers in Romeo
and Juliet by William Shakespeare do the same. Romeo and Juliet are lovers from feuding
families who marry. Because of pressures they self-destruct. Shakespeare uses different
strategies in writing this tragedy. They are, for example, coincidence, language tricks, and
In Romeo and Juliet many coincidences occurred. Romeo and Juliet are enemies from
different feuding families and they are in love. The night of the party is the day Benvoilio wants
to cheer up Romeo. Both Romeo and Juliet drink potions to "die." These three coincidences
make Romeo and Juliet move the story along.
Many different language tricks are embodied in Romeo and Juliet. “Thou desperate
pilot, now at once run on the dashing rocks thy seasick weary run,” is an example of a metaphor.
Reversed words for instance “upfill” are also used. Numerous references applying classical
allusion are utilized. “At lover’s perjuries, they say Jove laughs,” is a citation. These types of
descriptions make Romeo and Juliet more fun to read.
Secondary characters were also used to move the plot along in Romeo and Juliet. Lord
Capulet orders Juliet to marry Paris. Friar John was quarantined so the letter could not reach
Romeo. Apothecary sold the poison to Romeo so he could kill himself at Juliet’s side. Without
all of these secondary characters the story line would have been drastically different.
The use of coincidence, language tricks, and secondary characters has made Romeo
and Juliet popular for 400 years. This tragic story ended with their suicides, because of their
feuding families. Today, many people especially children today die because of feuds. Time and
time again, we hear of young gang members killing innocent children. These happenings are
more tragic because they involve real people and not characters in a story.
essay on the line that Romeo said "Worse poison to mens souls in these
poor compounds that thou mayest not sell. I hath sold thou poison,
thou hast sold me none." (i'm not sure the exact line, but its pretty
Romeo has given the apothecary his money for the poison so he can die
with Juliet. He says that
money is worse than poison because it causes so many problems and that
instead of the apothecary
giving Romeo the poison , Romeo has given the poison to the apothecary.
I agree with Romeo that money can be worse than poison if used in a bad
way. A lot of
murders, robberies, deceptions, and kidnappings happen because of money.
If there were no
money, there would probably not be as much greed. With no money there
probably not be as
much greed. Also if there were no money people might not be judged by
how they look or how
much money they have.
One reason I agree with Romeo is money causes so much crime. If there
were no money
there would not be nearly as much murder, kidnapping or robbery. There
wouldn’t be ransom
notes because there wouldn’t be any money to ask for. there wouldn’t be
as much murder either
because a lot of murder takes place due to wanted inheritance or just a
quick way of getting money
fast without having to deal with banks. People who murder, kidnap, or
participate in any type of
crime are just greedy people with low self esteem.
I think that money is part of the reason that people are popular or
not. People who have a
lot of money are sometimes popular and some people who are greedy like
them for only that
reason. Also if people don’t have enough money for nice clothes they
are sometimes not liked as
much because they are judged by their looks and not their personality,
which is not fair at all.
Money has caused bigger and bigger problems throughout time. Even many years ago
money was a problem because of greedy people wanting more money and
power. Money and
greed kept the Montague and Capulet apart which caused problems for
Romeo and Juliet leading
to their death. If money was used properly this would not have
This is an essay examining Mercutio's character
Mercutio is one of the most unique characters in Shakespeare's "Romeo &
Juliet". His language is always powerful and imaginative. He represents
many different things in the play and holds an important role. Both of
these categories will be explored in this essay, among other things.
First of all, Mercutio is Romeo's friend. He is neither Montague, nor
Capulet. Therefore, he has not been born into a feud and really has no
side. However, his bond with Romeo does make him associated with the
Mercutio's character stands out from the rest because of his energy in
everything he does and says. He is very fun loving and has a genuine love
for life. He is living his life on the edge and always looking for something
new and exciting to do. He is constantly playing on words, using two or
more meanings. Romeo once describes him as, "A gentlemen…who loves to hear
himself talk." As displayed in his Queen Mab speech in Act I Scene iv, he
is very imaginative. He describes in intimate detail everything about a
little world he has imagined. He creates this miniature society which he
uses to explain how we get our dreams. In that same scene, Mercutio reveals
to the audience how he believes one should chase after what is desired. He
tells Romeo to not be afraid to take charge saying:
"If love be rough with you, then be rough with love."
Mercutio teases Romeo, in Act I Scene iv:
"Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover! Appear though in the likeness of a
This shows how Mercutio simply cannot understand Romeo's love for Juliet,
and that he sees his love as simply a confusion of emotions. Mercutio is
very independent and free and does not understand how someone could want or
need anyone or anything else in his life to fulfill it. Mercutio wants to
live his life on the spur of the moment. He is not interested in being
dependent on anyone.
There are two main reasons Mercutio's character is important to the actual
plot of "Romeo & Juliet". First of all, Mercutio convinces Romeo to attend
the party at the Capulet's house, where he met Juliet. Romeo was very
reluctant to go to the party and even expressed a feeling of insecurity
about what the night may bring. However, after Mercutio advises Romeo and
teases him a little, Romeo decides to go. It is solely because of Mercutio's
persuasions that Romeo opts to attend the gathering. The second way
Mercutio's character is vital to the plot is it is Mercutio's death that
sets off the chain of events that leads to Romeo's banishment. First,
Tybalt murders Mercutio. Romeo is so enraged by this that he kills Tybalt.
As a consequence, Romeo is banished from Verona and therefore from seeing
Juliet. During the first scene of Act III, Mercutio is being his regular,
quick-witted self. He is very sharp in his language, but perhaps too sharp.
He deliberately annoys Tybalt, by doing things like purposely mistaking
meanings of words, like in Act III Scene I, Tybalt begins addressing
Mercutio about the relationship between Romeo and Juliet and Romeo takes the
word 'consort' as related to playing music, instead of being friends with
Romeo. Instances like this simply make the argument more and more heated,
until Mercutio takes Tybalt's final blow, while Romeo is standing between
them actually trying to stop the fight. This symbolizes how Romeo may try
as he will to end the fighting between the Montagues and the Capulets, but
Mercutio's death is a major event in this play. When Tybalt kills Mercutio,
the attributes of a comedy die with him. From now on, this play becomes a
Tragedy. This demonstrates how Mercutio is a strong representation of all
that is youthful and carefree in this play.
Mercutio does not change dramatically in this play. The only slight change
a reader may see is when he is about to die, he yells:
"A plague on both your houses!"
This may be regarded as a change because Mercutio has never been so serious
before. He has never expressed any disagreement of the relationship between
the Montagues and the Capulets. Now, he seems to realize the damage the
fighting is capable of doing, unfortunately, it was too late for him.
In conclusion, Mercutio's character is obviously very complex and vital to
the plot of this play. He represents independence, youth, and freedom, and
makes the story line a lot more interesting. He is apparently a vital role
to this play and its success.
---Jannah Van Gorp June 9th, 1999
Explore the Connections Between
the Film Version and Shakespeare's Original Play
This is an essay that explores the differences between the R & J movie and
Shakespeare's Origianl play.
The director of the film version of "Romeo and Juliet" and Shakespeare both
used the same script for their programs, but they are very different
interpretations. In this paper, I am going to explain some of the instances
in the first scene of "Romeo and Juliet" that the movie highlights more than
in play, and some instances that the movie draws less attention to and the
play brings out.
First of all, the setting is probably the most evident contrast between the
play and the movie. What the modern environment does is allows it to be
much more violent. As the scene opens, you see a carload of Montague boys
yelling with loud music and basically just having a good time. Then, the
Capulet's pull into the gas station. Immediately, it is evident that this
family is much more serious than the Montague's. They are wearing much
darker clothes than the Montague's with blacks and reds. The Montague's are
wearing brighter yellows and blues. This is obviously a difference that is
brought out simply because of visual additions. So, already there is a
feeling of favoritism on the Montague's. Then, when Tybalt
enters, you almost immediately hate him. He has black and deep red clothes
on, cowboy boots with spurs, and black greasy hair. He is almost an icon
for the devil himself. However, in the play, you do favor Benvolio, because
he says things like, "I do but keep the peace…" in line sixty-five. The
director of the movie interpreted this confrontation between Benvolio and
Tybalt, as like an old western showdown: with the boys twirling their guns,
and the camera zooming in on their boots, Tybalt's spurs and their slow
The actors and the music add an extreme sense of intensity and fear to the
scene. In the play, it is not as evident how the servant's are really
cowards and are terrified of what may happen in any of the scuffles they get
involved in. The movie brings this out by turning the actor's tones into
screams and yelling. The music is loud and nerving. It makes the rivalry
between the families seem very real and accentuates the potential violence
and genuine, mutual hate.
A final difference is in the play, when Tybalt challenges Benvolio (lines
67-69) all the citizens join in and take sides yelling, "Down with the
Capulet's!" or "Down with the Montague's!" In the movie, it is actually
quite the opposite. For example, when the two families see each other, a
bus full of nuns who are on the scene quickly get back in and hurry off
hoping to avoid being a part of the violence. Also, a woman in her car
repeatedly hits one of the Montague servants with her purse when he gets
near her car. The violence and obviously renowned feud between the families
evidently terrified her.
---Jannah Van Gorp April 28th, 1999
A TRAGEDY BROUGHT BY DESTINY
Fate seems to guide people toward their destinies. Whenever a person has a destiny, he or she cannot entirely control what happens. That person can only try to prevent the worst from happening. Sometimes bad things do happen, but fate will always bring people together. The play The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet demonstrates how fate can bring two people together.
Romeo and Juliet met by chance. Romeo was actually going to the Capulet party to see Rosaline, but fell in love when he saw Juliet. She too fell in love with Romeo before she knew who he was. When she found out he was the son of her greatest enemy, she did not really care. All she knew was that she loved him and she belonged with him. Juliet said:
My only love, sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me
That I must love a loathed enemy.
The only person that helped Romeo and Juliet through their struggles the most was Friar Lawrence. Romeo, immediately after he met Juliet, went to the Friar to ask him to marry them. Friar Laurence said:
Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell.
But come, young waverer, come go with me.
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.
Friar Laurence was explaining that Romeo did not really know what love was. He would marry them anyway hoping that the relationship would between the two feuding families could be improves by the marriage of their children.
Finally, in the end, the price gives a very moving speech to the house of Capulet and Montaque, after their children’s death. Prince says:
This letter doth make good the friar’s words,
Their course of love, the tidings of her death;
And here he writes that he did buy a poison
Of a poor apothecary and therewithal
Came to this vault to die and lie with Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montaque,
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.
What the Prince meant was that because Capulet and Montaque hated each other so much, Romeo and Juliet ended up killing themselves to be together. Both families lost something very important to them. If the families would have stopped feuding, maybe then their children we still be alive.
Fate seems to guide people toward their destines. Romeo and Juliet felt they should be together and they did not care what it took. They were willing to give even their lives. Their love ended in death. They could then be together in heaven.
Conventions of Shakespeare’s Staging
When we attend theatrical performances—school plays, assembly programs, or movies in public theater—we’re accustomed to finding a seat and waiting until the lights dim, the audience quiets down, and the play or feature begins. We’re also accustomed to seeing scenery that suggests the location of the play and expect the stage lighting to help set the mood.
But all this was not so in Shakespeare’s time. Then, people attended plays during the day, for there was no was to light the stage effectively at night. Public performances of plays in theaters was a fairly new idea at the time because the first permanent English theater had been built less than twenty years before Shakespeare began writing his plays. Although the shape of the theaters varied from square, circular, or octagonal, all had a stage that was simply a raised platform in an open yard surrounded with tiers of galleries to accommodate the spectators. The stage was covered with a roof, commonly called “The Heavens.” While the roof protected actors from the weather, the attic space above could hold machinery, such as ropes and pulleys to lower thrones or heavenly deities to the stage or to hide the sound effects of thunder, alarm bells, or cannonades. By modern standards these theaters were small. The open yard in front of the stage in theater measured only 50 feet across. Up to two thousand spectators could either sit on benches in the tiers of galleries or stand in the open yard in front of the stage.
These theaters used simple stage props—chairs or tables were brought on the stage as needed. Actual scenery may have been suggested through dialogue or may have included minimal set pieces such as a few trees to suggest a forest, or a rock to suggest a river bank. The stages themselves had many built-in acting areas that could function in a number of ways: for instance, small inner stages with drapes which the actors used as inner rooms. The actors could use the inner room for King Duncan’s chamber in Macbeth or Brutus’ tent in Julius Caesar. Usually, there was also a small balcony positioned in the center of the stage. The balcony might serve as Juliet’s balcony in Romeo and Juliet or as the battlements of Elsinore Castle in Hamlet.
The costumes were based on the contemporary clothing styles of the time. Instead of attempting any sort of accurate historical costuming, the actors wore clothes much like those of the characters rank. For example, Macbeth would have been costumed a nobleman and Lady Capulet as any wealthy English merchant’s wife. Occasionally, other costume pieces may have been added to suggest witches, fairies, national or racial costumes.
During the time that Shakespeare wrote and acted, only three or four professional companies performed in theaters just outside the limits of London. These professional troupes employed only male actors. Although most of the roles in Shakespeare’s plays are male, the few parts of younger female characters—Juliet or her mother, for instance—were played by young boys, age fourteen or so and apprenticed to actors. Men may have played some female roles, especially those of older, comedic women, like Juliet’s Nurse.
Time and Fate in Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, said to be one of the most famous love stories
of all times, is a play anchored on time and fate. Some actions are
believed to occur by chance or by destiny. The timing of each action
influences the outcome of the play. While some events are of less
significance, some are crucial to the development of this tragedy. The
substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and Juliet are;
the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and Romeo, and Friar
A servant to Capulet, who is incapable of reading the list of
guests, asks for Romeo’s assistance. Romeo notices that Rosaline, his
lover, is among these names. Benvolio challenges Romeo to compare her
with other "beauties." Benvolio predicts, "Compare her face with some
that I shall show,/ And I will make thee think thy swan a crow." (I, ii,
l 86-87) To show his appreciation, the servant asks for Romeo’s presence
at the ball. Romeo should have considered the servant’s warning; if
Romeo occupies the name of Montague, he shall not be permitted. Once at
the ball, Romeo is searching for a maiden to substitute the unrequited
love of Rosaline. Romeo happens to gaze upon Juliet, who charms Romeo.
Romeo proclaims, " Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/ For
ne’er saw true beauty till this night." (I, v, l 52-53) Since Romeo
declares his love for Juliet, she feels the attraction also. They
believe that they are in love and must marry. However, it is a genuine
coincidence that Romeo and Juliet were at the same place, at the same
Some days after the ball, Benvolio and Mercutio are conversing,
in regard to the quarrelsome weather. Benvolio declares, "The day is
hot, the Capulets abroad,/ And if we meet we shall not ‘scape a brawl,/
For now these got days is the mad blood stirring." (III, i, l 2-4) At
this point, Tybalt, who has challenged Romeo because of his appearance
at the masquerade, enters, seeking Romeo. On Romeo’s behalf, Mercutio
struggles with Tybalt, while Romeo, who is filled with love for his new
cousin, tries to end their boldness. Before escaping, Tybalt plunges
his sword into Mercutio, causing death to fall upon him. Mercutio blames
Romeo and the feud for his fate. Romeo kills Tybalt, who taunts Romeo,
upon his return. Romeo fears he will be condemned to death if he does
not flee before the arrival of the Prince. Benvolio recalls the events
that have happened, with some embellishment. The Prince declares:
And for that offence/ Immediately we do exile him hence./ I hav an in
your hate’s proceeding,/ My blood for your rude brawls doth lie
a-bleeding;/ But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine/ That you shall
repent the loss of mine./ I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;/ Nor
tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses;/ Therefore use none. Let
Romeo hence in haste,/ Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last./
Bear hence this body and attend our will./ Mercy but murders, pardoning
those that kill.
(III, i, l 185-195)
Due to the disturbance of Verona’s street and the losses of
Tybalt and Mercutio, the Prince must penalize Romeo. However, the Prince
agrees that Romeo was acting in self defense.
Juliet, who desires not to wed Paris, asks for Friar Laurence’s
assistance. The day before the wedding, Juliet is to drink the poison,
which will make her appear to be dead. In forty two hours she shall
awake, with Romeo by her side. Romeo will then bring her to Mantua with
him. In the meantime Friar Laurence will convey a message to Romeo in
Mantua, telling him the plot. When she gains consciousness, Romeo and
Friar Laurence will be there. Friar Laurence says, "Shall Romeo by my
letters know our drift,/ And hither shall he come; and he and I/ Will
watch thy waking" (IV, i, l 114-116) Following Juliet’s intake of the
poison, Romeo is anticipating news from Verona. Balthasar, a servant to
Romeo, tells Romeo that Juliet has passed on. Romeo, who is told there
are no letters from the friar, seeks a way to accomplish his suicide.
Meanwhile, Friar Laurence, confronts Friar John, who was to deliver the
letter to Romeo. Friar John informs Friar Laurence that he was seeking
another Franciscan, who was visiting the sick, to accompany him to
Mantua. He says, "Suspecting that we both were in a house/ Where the
infectious pestilence did reingn,/ Seal’d up the doors, and would not
let us forth;/" (V, ii, l 9-11) Friar John tells that he could find no
one to deliver the letter, for fear they may catch the infection.
The substantial events that inspire the conclusion of Romeo and
Juliet are; the Capulet ball, the quarrel experienced by Tybalt and
Romeo, and Friar John’s plague. The Capulet ball influences the ending
of the play by Romeo’s invitation at the ball, which creates the meeting
of Romeo and Juliet. The ball also gives birth to Tybalt’s anger and
causes his challenge. The challenge causes the banishment of Romeo,
which produces much grieving by Juliet and Romeo. Also, the quarrelsome
weather is partly to blame for the feuding between Tybalt and Mercutio.
Since Friar John did not deliver the letter, Romeo thinks that Juliet
is dead, sacrifices himself. Juliet seeing that Romeo is dead, slays
Word Count: 915
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