By Chelsea Wells
In the play Romeo and Juliet, the individual wants of Romeo, Lord Capulet and Friar Laurence outweigh their duties to society and their families, which all have a role in ending the vicious cycle of hate and death that threatens to tear Verona apart. Romeo’s duty is to continue the quarrel between his family and the Capulet’s. This results in him eventually abandoning the duty because he falls in love with Juliet and because he doesn’t believe in the violence. Also he finally works up the courage to do what his heart tells him is right instead of what his parents tell him. Lord Capulet chose his wants, and because of this he caused the death of his only daughter and the death of Capulet line. But it also resulted in peace between the two families at last. Friar Laurence also had a hand in killing the lover’s, when he put a want over a duty. It is also because of his bad decisions that the two are dead. Verona is now at peace but at what cost?
Romeo Montague had a duty to his family to uphold the ancient feud between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s. He was to hate all people bearing the Capulet name or with Capulet blood flowing through their veins. This especially applied to the Capulet’s young and only daughter Juliet. As the only Montague heir, it was Romeo’s duty to breed the hate that was bred into him, into the minds, bodies and blood of the Montague children. Romeo however rejects this duty from the beginning, wanting no part in the violence. He expresses his despair and shame for his families part in the bloodshed when he says, “what fray was here?/ Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all/ Here’s much to do with hate but more with love/ why, then, O brawling love!/ O loving hate!/ This love I feel, that feel no love in this.” (A 1, S 1, 170-173…179) As an outsider, a citizen of Verona, the quarrel between the two families was viewed like this, “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny/ where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” (Prologue, 3-4) As an ancient fight where regular people kill others, soiling their once clean hands with blood. But from within, there was a lot more than meets the eye.
Romeo is against the violence but his duty to be violent will always hang over his head. Therefore, Romeo finds himself caught between his duties and his morals. If Romeo chooses his duty, the same burden placed upon Romeo will be thrust upon the tiny shoulders of his children. This way the bitter rivalry will continue for generations and generations. The only way for this cycle to end is if an individual want takes greater importance over your duties. His morals weren’t quite enough for him to completely abandon his duty, but when he falls in love with the daughter of Capulet it is the final straw. His duties to his family fall to the wayside. When Juliet asks for his name he replies, “By a name/ I know not how to tell thee who I am./ My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,/ Because it is an enemy to thee;/ Had I written it, I would tear the word.” When Juliet asks if he is Romeo Montague he replies, “Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.” (A 2, S 2, 54-58…62) He is so in love, and fed up with the violence that comes along with his name that he doesn’t even want to be a Montague anymore. He disowns himself from his family, for him and for Juliet. He chose his want to love over his duty to hate. In turn, he broke the cycle.
Lord Capulet is the driver of the violence cycle. He actually chose his duties over his individual wants. The hate was bred into him so well, that his duties and wants had merged. His duties and wants are one in the same. Lord Capulet’s upbringing pushed the hate so forcefully onto him that Lord Capulet now wants violence. He wants the two families to continue to feud, he likes the bloodshed and the death. When he sees the fight going on in Verona between the families he says, “What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!” He then says, “My sword, I