Essay on Romeo and Juliet

Submitted By ckityy
Words: 633
Pages: 3

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet . . . " (II, ii, 43–44) Audiences today still easily recognise this quote, though it is from one of the oldest (but most famous) plays in the world, Romeo and Juliet. The play, written by William Shakespeare in the early 1590s, depicts an endearing and tragic story of two star-crossed lovers. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare successfully uses relevant themes, such as love, fate and conflict, to continue to ensnare modern audiences 400 years on.

Fate plays an important role in Romeo and Juliet. Every event that takes place in this tale, whether for better or worse, has a dark and tragic shadow; the audience knows that Romeo and Juliet are destined to fail. It is evidently obvious that they were influenced by a higher calling: the servant came across Romeo with the invitations to the Capulet’s cataclysmic party; Romeo was able to defeat Tybalt when Tybalt sought him out after the party; a marriage was coincidently forced upon Juliet directly after her marriage to Romeo; Romeo slew Paris after Paris blamed him for Juliet’s ‘death’; and, most importantly, Romeo and Juliet fell in love, although they were born as mortal enemies. “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life . . .” (I, Prologue, 5–6)

Conflict is a significant theme in every good story, even more so in Romeo and Juliet. The background information of the play is that the Capulets and Montagues held a long time grudge against one another for a long-forgotten reason, and it is evident that the current generation of the families are quick and eager to sustain their ancestors’ antipathy toward another, suggesting that they are fiery-tempered, competitive and loyal. Furthermore, the characters from each family are constantly chomping at the bit to start a brawl with each other, for “to strike [them] dead [they] hold it not a sin.” (I, v, 59) This provides a suspenseful atmosphere for the audience; a constant threat of an uncivil encounter between “both [their] houses!” (III, i, 89) It’s a clever use of a theme that, even in modern times, is still relevant.

Love is the most universally popular theme in any traditional plot. In almost every story a person can think of, the characters’ motivations for any actions that occur are friendship or love for a person. This is the…