How does Shakespeare utilize conflict in Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1? In this essay I will resolve how conflict is effectively used in Act 1 Scene 1 to prepare the audience for the rest of the play. It will to start with show how Shakespeare uses physical dispute in between the 2 feuding families. Second of all I will show the idea that Shakespeare presents emotional dispute through the character of Romeo, and his profusions of love for Rosaline.
Lastly I will show that the character of Romeo shows both physical or external dispute and emotional or internal conflict. The function of the beginning is to clearly detail the plot of the entire play in fourteen lines and it also allows the audience to be settled prior to the real play correctly starts. The audience gets a look of the rest of the play, it is presenting the concept that there is conflict; for instance “death-marked love” provides the idea of love not being favorable, however is hinting that love remains in fact unfavorable as it associates with death.
The beginning is a fourteen-line sonnet; it rhymes at the same time till the last 2 lines where the sentences end in rhyming couplets suggesting to the audience that the very first act is beginning. The audience watching the play would associate a sonnet with love. However the audience is made aware that death and violence are going to be a huge part of the play due to extremely mad, violent and aggressive words; these include “death”, “rage” and also “mutiny”. We are also informed that “from ancient grudge break to brand-new mutiny” which describes a history “ancient” long standing conflict in between the two households.
We also discover that there is a “continuation of the moms and dads’ rage” showing to the audience that this conflict is still on-going and unlikely to be quickly resolved. Act 1 Scene 1 opens with Gregory and Sampson of your house of Capulet, in a public location in Verona City which shows right away where the story will occur. From the beginning it is clear that the servants are trying to find physical conflict, as they are ‘equipped with swords and bucklers’. At this time gentlemen wore swords, but servants generally didn’t, so by being equipped it is apparent that Gregory and Sampson are searching for problem.
The language of the 2 servants is extremely manly “we’ll draw” (swords) gives the audience the concept that Sampson is searching for a battle. We find out that he “will take the wall of any guy or house maid of Montague” clearly showing he will not run from any conflict with the Montagues. However, Gregory is not as interested in participating in this conflict however is more thinking about talking with his mouth instead of his sword. “If thou art moved, thou runn’st away” demonstrates how he would rather goad Sampson and challenge his masculinity with the creative usage of words.
The language utilized during the interaction in between the 2 servants, such as attending to each other as “thou” is extremely upper class and not the language of a servant. This would attract the nobility and the upper classes in the audience. This scene is likewise extremely comedic; it does this to show the lighter side of the conflict within Romeo and Juliet. One way it is funny is when talking about the male sexual slurs “My naked weapon is out” is describing his sword in a sexual way, which will entertain the audience. Another comedic feature is how Gregory can change the context of Samsons words.
Sampson states that “we’ll not carry coals” meaning that they will not be accept any goading by the Montague then Gregory responds “No, for then we need to be colliers” (coal miners) this is amusing as he changed the context of carrying coals to mock Samson. The first encounter between the two households starts when servants of the two families Sampson and Gregory (Capulet) meet Abraham and Balthasar (Montague). Sampson symbolically bites his thumb; this shows that he is looking for a battle. Again we see conflict being presented as biting your thumb at someone was an insulting gesture.
He does this to stir things up between the two families; admitting that “I do bite my thumb, sir” the audience would probably see him as a trouble maker and the source of conflict. Nevertheless their view of him could change since he begins to pull back due to finding out the law isn’t on his side and we find out that he does “… not bite my thumb at you, sir.” At this moment the audience would then start to see him as weak. The honorable Benvolio (cousin of Romeo) is the peacemaker as he attempts to stop the fight and orders them to “Part, fools! It is considerable that it is Benvolio who is the peacemaker as his name indicates excellent will. However, Tybalt (Capulet) occurs and will not “talk of peace! I dislike the word,” leaving Benvolio without any option but to continue the dispute. The residents of Verona are obviously tired of the conflict that exists in between the Capulets and Montague, as they shout “Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montague!” So it is clear that individuals of Verona do not like the frequent civil wars. This negativity towards conflict could also be viewed as a metaphor for keeping the peace in Shakespearean society.
The prince is presented as the person who tries to keep order and peace in Verona; he does this to start with by contacting us to the mob. “Rebellious subjects, opponents to peace,” By resolving them as defiant he shows them as being beyond the law. He likewise threatens them with abuse to control the citizens so he needs to resolve them with ferocity. This is something that the audience would associate with because peace existed at his time during Elizabeth’s rule. However to stay in power Tudor kings and Queens would use torture and execution to control any “Defiant subjects”.
Torture in the 16th century generally ended in death. With the loss of fingers and after that larger limbs, death would usually follow. The rack was also being a primary means of torture. Shakespeare uses metaphors to include dramatic effect, “purple fountains issuing from your veins” describes spilled blood due to the civil brawl; this stresses that he will not endure the feud. Personification is also utilized when the Prince informs the people to “throw your mistemper ‘d weapons to the ground” he is discussing the weapons having human characteristics when they are being utilized for the incorrect reasons.
Once again he is stressing how he feels that combating is not the response. Girl Montague’s discussion shows she is worried about Romeo being involved in the fighting, because she cares about his well being, she asks Benvolio “Romeo? Saw you him to-day?” However Benvolio has the ability to tell woman Montague that Romeo wasn’t at the battle and that he was in the forests with a “struggling mind” introducing the concept of psychological dispute. We even more find out of Romeo’s emotional state of mind when Montague describes Romeo’s behaviour as “black and portentous”.
He states that even when it is day he “pens himself” in his “chamber” and “stops talking his windows”. This description of Romeo allows the first scene to alter instructions from physical dispute to emotional conflict. The audience’s impression of Romeo is that he is extremely dark and mysterious due to his routine of locking himself in his space. However the audience at the same time will be fascinated to learn what has actually triggered this depressive behaviour. The concern is asked by Benvolio “do you know the cause? which would echo the audiences ideas. The audience learns more of the character of Romeo when Montague compares his kid to a flower and how “the bud bit with a jealous worm, Ere he can spread his sweet leaves to the air.” This metaphor enables the audience to read more about Romeo’s nature, by comparing him to a flower the impression of Romeo is that he is more fragile than the previous characters. The audience discover that Romeo’s psychological inner dispute is due to his love for a beautiful lady (Rosaline) who has actually rejected his advances.
This male suffering was a popular theme in love poetry of this time and was echoed by authors such as John Donne in Sweetest Love, I do not go “When thou weep’st, unkindly kind, my life’s blood doth decay.” Romeos predicament resembles that of Petrarch who enjoyed a lady called Laura, this determines Romeo to the audience as a Petrarchan Fan. As the passage carries on we find out more of Romeos inner dispute. His frame of mind is demonstrated by the usage of oxymorons “loving hate” “heavy lightness” and “ill health” all offer a clear indication of how the use of revers echo the unstable state of his mind.
The sentences are likewise disjointed when he explains his love he jumps from “Mis-shapen mayhem …” to “… cold fire, sick health!” which additional reflects his confusion due to the fact that of his unrequited love. However Romeos mood modifications and this is shown by blank verses (iambic pentameters) when he further explains what love implies to him. This style of composing assists to make the script circulation which demonstrates how Romeos love streams. His sensations of what love implies to him are more reinforced by the inclusion of rhyme “revealed, own” “sighs; eyes;” and “discreet, sweet”.
This elevation in language is restated in the language that he uses when he later on describes his sensations for Juliet. The audience learns more about Romeos mysterious love when he compares her to Dian. Dian was the goddess of chastity and this provides the audience a sign of the real nature of his love. She is referred to as having “Dian’s wit” therefore by comparing her to a goddess she is smart and yet has the body of a goddess. The reality that she wants to “live chaste” and “Cuts appeal off from all posterity” supports the concept that she will never return his love and contributes to his psychological dispute triggering Romeo to become depressed.
We find out that Romeo declares that he can not even bare to say her name and he asks “Bid a sick guy in unhappiness make his will:” Emphasizing the concept that to say her name would cause him to pass away. Conflict is again reinforced in his love for Rosaline, when he speaks about his battle to win over Rosaline. He explains it as a battlefield where he utilizes words such as “siege.” These are not words generally connected with love but by saying them the dispute that exists can be viewed as both emotional and physical. Benvolio offers Romeo the guidance that he ought to “Take a look at other Beauties” Romeo says that this would only make things worse.
He compares it to a man that is struck blind can’t forget that he when could see “his eyesight lost”. As soon as again Romeo is emphasising that he can never forget his love and the feelings that he is feeling can be associated with something physical such as losing his sight. The very first act introduces the audience to more information of the physical dispute in Verona that was discussed in the beginning. We find out that this long standing fight is between the Capulet and Montague families. However it is a fight “reproduced of an airy word” showing that it is so longstanding that no one truly knows how it began.
Romeo who is a member of the Montague family is crucial to the idea of dispute and unites both physical and psychological disputes. He is himself suffering inner psychological conflict because of his love for a female who “have actually forsworn to enjoy” and so can not return his love. Romeos dad compares him to a flower that has not “spread his sweet leaves” this points to the concept that he is not a strong and powerful male. However rather the ideal person to end up being involved in the love affair indicated in the beginning.
The psychological conflict that he feels is linked to the physical conflict that is happening around him, by his option of words when he likens his love to a battle by his use of the word “siege”. This connecting is further enhanced when Romeo compares the concept of psychological dispute to the physical conflict of losing his sight. It is my belief that Shakespeare uses dispute in Act 1 Scene 1 to prepare the audience for the disputes that exist between the two families and to present them to the character of Romeos and how his mental illness will affect the remainder of the play.