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Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - Book Report/Review Example

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Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare deftly maneuvers language from the beginning to the end to maintain a sense of conflict and disorder, and the very Prologue indicates the recurrent nature of disorder throughout Romeo and Juliet, the "two hours' traffic" in which the audience shall witness "how ancient grudge break to new mutiny", and how "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;" and thus, "with their death bury their parents' strife". Disorder does not cease till the very end in the deaths of the lovers.
As Harold Bloom remarks, Shakespeare has created an atmosphere of conflict and disorder at the very beginning by "by insinuating a conception of human nature as both gentle and violent, by postulating a repetitive cycle of peace and violence, by showing the paradoxical interdependence of fundamental opposites, and by repetition of the words 'love' and 'strife',"(Bloom, 2000, 175)
This atmosphere of conflict created in the Prologue is carried on into the acts of Romeo and Juliet, in the frequent use of antithesis in his language, where he uses words against each other so that they clash. One effective example of this is the Friar's first speech, which juxtaposes words like "baleful weeds" and "precious-juiced flowers", "tomb' and "womb", as well as "virtue" and "vice". The speech accepts that "Two such opposed kings encamp them still/ In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;" (Act 2 Scene 3, lines 27-8). Shakespeare here creates an atmosphere of hidden turbulence through the use of antithesis, which represents disorder about to break out from under a sense of order and equilibrium.

The disorder makes its first concrete appearance in the seeming death of Juliet, and Shakespeare again liberally uses antithesis to emphasize it. When Capulet mourns the death of his daughter, Shakespeare equips him with a barrage of phrases with antithesis:
"All things that we ordaind festival,/ Turn from their office to black funeral:/ Our instruments to melancholy bells, / Our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast;/ Our solemn hymns to sullen dirges change;/ Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse;/ And all things change them to the contrary". (Act 4 Scene 5, lines 84-90).
Language rips at the base of tranquility, and Shakespeare deftly creates an atmosphere of disorder with the use of antithesis in his language.

Not only does Shakespeare use antithesis to create an atmosphere of disorder, he also effectively uses the oxymoron, where he comes up with incredibly strong expressions of conflict by throwing together incongruous or even contradictory words. Some of the most powerful examples come forth in a dialog by Romeo, who talks of the opposing yet strangely associated concepts of love and hate. "Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,/ O any thing of nothing first create!/ O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,/ Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, /Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!"(Act 1 Scene 1, lines 167-72).

Though at the stage Romeo utters these words he has yet to set eyes on and fall in love with Juliet, but they ring true in the context of the final aftermath in the play. Dialogs such as this with their significance understood towards the end of the play provide a lot of scope for the actors on stage to express different layers of ...Show more

Summary

All drama contains conflict, it is conflict that creates and maintains interest in minds of the audience. Shakespeare was a past master at creating conflict, and his plays usually took a trajectory where initial disorder was followed by some sort of order, which was then followed by a rebellion by the protagonist/s…
Author : fannie05
Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet essay example
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