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Romeo and Juliet

Term Paper: Romeo and Juliet, the world-renowned love story, starts out with the theme of love and only turns into a tragedy at the end when, due to several misconceptions, Romeo kills himself, following which Juliet kills herself too. It is of course very important what motive any of them had of doing what they did, even though the act of suicide alone is grave enough to be deemed a tragedy.

However, Shakespeare’s written similar plays where death either ensued directly through duels or within battles involving gruesome first-hand displays of murder, although not yet, they were not deemed to be tragedies in themselves. Henry V would be a good example.

That play followed a staunch story line of valor and commitment to warfare and conquering territories based on historical events. It involved battle scenes and plenty of people dying by the sword but even after that, it was only dubbed a history play before anything else.


This brings forth a number of key points. Firstly, when it comes to Shakespeare the context of death does not always have to be tragic; otherwise scenes involving battles will almost always be considered tragic regardless of the ensuing victory. This is much in line with Shakespeare’s thinking, who chose to concentrate more on speeches right before the battle more in order to prepare the audience for the bloody onslaught ahead and when it resulted in victory, all was well.

However, if death resulted out of grief or love, it was a whole different picture and much acceptably tragic. Within Romeo and Juliet, there is an apparent fight between the two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, which Romeo and Juliet belong to respectively. The play starts out with a fight between the two families and when Romeo’s first scene takes place, he is already in depression out of love for a girl from the Capulet family. This set the tone of the play and is much in line with the tone set in Hamlet, another tragedy, in the beginning of which Hamlet finds himself encapsulated with grief due to the murder of his father King Hamlet, his uncle’s succession to the throne and contrary to young Hamlet’s wishes her marriage to his uncle. The comparison gives us some insight as to how Shakespeare goes about rendering his plays tragedies and how little a time he wastes before he portrays the tone to the audience. Romeo then goes on to discover Juliet and immediately falls in love, declaring the same in the famous balcony scene after overhearing her talk about loving him despite the differences between their families.

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