Romeo And Juliet, Children Of Two Rival Families, Who Take Their Own Lives.
Romeo and Juliet, A Play by Shakespeare
The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, written and directed by William Shakespeare between 1594 and 1596, is a very famous and popular play. The main story of the play is about two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, both from rival families. They try to keep their love secret with many methods but ultimately they both end up taking their own lives to overcome the obstacles which hinder their love. The couples death eventually unites the two families. This introduces sacrifice, one of the many themes in the play. The play also contains themes of love – Romeo and Juliet, hate/conflict – the two rival families, destiny – due to the fact that the ending is told at the start of the play, and authority, which is shown with the prince and the leaders of the families.
The play, 'Romeo and Juliet' was very popular with its Elizabethan audience. This was due to the theatre being one of the only forms of mass entertainment at the time. It also gave the audience a break from their everyday, normal lives. Also there are many areas such as poetry, comedy, love and violence covered in 'Romeo and Juliet' which provided entertainment for all sorts of people across the social range. The play also dealt with many everyday themes such as love, violence, hate and conflict. This is why the play proves to be so popular at the present time. Within 'Romeo and Juliet' there are many universal themes.
The prologue is a device from Ancient Greek Tragedy which gave a commentary on the play. The prologue provides a lot of information to the audience, for example it establishes the setting by saying ‘fair Verona’, which tells us about conflict. We also learn that the main two characters, Romeo and Juliet, both die at the end of the play. This introduces dramatic irony which gives the audience a sense of knowledge as they know what is going to happen, where as the characters don’t. It also gives suspense. Also the prologue in 'Romeo and Juliet' introduces many key themes such as love, hatred, conflict and destiny. These are expressed when the words and phrases such as, ‘star-crossed lovers’, ‘death’, and ‘ancient grudge!
The opening scene of 'Romeo and Juliet' helps to establish many themes and events which will happen during the play. The first two characters who appear are servants of the Capulet house, they are talking to each other and are bragging and using humor. One of the servants, Sampson, says that he ‘strikes quickly, being moved’ which introduces the theme of macho pride and status. Also they discuss the actions they plan to take upon the opposing family. They say that ‘the quarrel is between their masters and their men’, this instantly tells the audience the situation in Verona. It tells how the families are in a civil war and hints towards violence. This shows one of the main themes which is conflict. The two slaves also introduce themes such as hate, sex and violence when one says that he will show himself a ‘tyrant’, and when he has ‘fought the men, I will be cruel with the maids’. Also he says he will cut off their heads, or ‘maidenheads’ which means he will take their virginity. Overall, the first scene in 'Romeo and Juliet' contains a lot of foreshadowing, which means that there are many themes, events and contents foretold about the play.