Romeo And Juliet Essay, Research Paper
Love and hate, such small words for the amount of power that they possess. Both
have the capacity to change individuals as well as the capability to ruin lives. It can be
shown that William Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, is attempting to point out the
intensity of both love and hate alike. Whenever there is a strong enough feeling of love or
hate between two parties, other individuals can become impassioned by the shear beauty
of that love or lured in by the absurd but somehow attractive aspects of the hatred.
The feud between the Capulets and the Montagues not only effects the members of
those two families, but it effects the servants as well. In the beginning of the play, there is
a quarrel in the street between the servingmen of the Capulets and those of the
Montagues. The Capulets provoke it without any instigation:
Gregory: …Draw thy tool. Here comes of the house of Montagues.
Enter [Abram with another servingman.]
Sampson: My naked weapon is out. Quarrel, I will back thee (I,ii,32-35).
From this quote, we see just how ingrained the hostilities are, if the servants have become
a part of them as well. It is because people become involved when they don t need to be,
in fact, that worthy and innocent people die.
In Act 3, scene 1, Mercutio is killed, not because he is of either the house of
Capulet or Montague, but because he is Romeo s best friend and he feels compelled to
defend Romeo s name, instead of doing what his kinsman, the Prince, would want to have
done. Mercutio, who is the most easy-going and fun-loving character in the play, dies
because the two families just can t seem to get along. The ridiculousness of it is almost
nauseating. Mercutio curses both houses in disgust:
Mercutio: No, tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as
a church door, but tis enough. twill serve. Ask for
me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o
both your houses! Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a
cat, to scratch a man to death! A braggart, a rogue, a
villain that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the
devil came you between us? I was hurt under your
arm (III, i, 100-107).
Mercutio has no business entering into this quarrel. The issue is between Tybalt and
Romeo. Hatred can destroy lives, even the lives of those who aren t directly involved. In
contrast, love can positively change people and their ways of thinking.
Love is something that Juliet would perhaps never have gotten to experience, had
it not been for Romeo. She might have grown up with just as much hatred for the
Montagues as her parents possess. Even the love within the Capulet family is weak.
Capulet and Lady Capulet clearly have little affection for one another. Zeffirelli does a
great job of showing this in his movie. Capulet is gazing out the window as his wife walks
by. A horribly discordant note is played simultaneously. These people don t know how to
love each other; how could they possibly get over a feud that has most likely gone on for
generations? It is Juliet s immediate infatuation with Romeo, however, that allows her to
form a different view of the loathed enemy. Romeo is so beautiful, and so charming, that
the moment Juliet spots him, it becomes apparant that there will be no place in her
constitution for this absurd hatred. Romeo and Juliet, in fact are both willing to deny their
names for their love:
Juliet: O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name,
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I ll no longer be a Capulet.
Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
Juliet: Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, [nor any other part]
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, so he were not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And, for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Romeo: I take thee at thy word.
Call me but love, and I ll be new baptized.
Henceforth, I never will be Romeo (II,ii,36-55).
The love is so strong and intense that they are content to forsake their names for it. They
see how ludicrous it is to hate someone because of his name. Their parents, at this point,
are too blinded by their own malevolence to see how ridiculous it is to hate someone
because of his name. It is not until their children kill themselves that they wake up and see
the error of their ways.
When Capulet and Montague discover that Romeo and Juliet have killed
themselves, their eyes are finally opened to the truth: love must replace hatred:
Capulet: O brother Montague, give me thy hand.
This is my daughter s jointure, for no more
Can I demand.
Montague: But I can give thee more,
for I will ray her statue in pure gold,
That whiles Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet.
Capulet: As rich shall Romeo s by his lady s lie,
Poor sacrifices of our enmity.
The two families have finally reached a peace. Even though it took the the death of their
only children to reach it, the feud is over. I m sure it will never be forgotten. If Romeo
and Juliet had never fallen in love, there would still be bitter hatred between the two
families. Love does have the power to transform individuals, just as hate has the power to
destroy lives. Unfortunately, in this story of Romeo and Juliet, the love could not conquer
the hatred soon enough.