Analysis of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s early works. It is a lyrical tragedy because of its poetic lines, and tragic imagery. The story has many comic interludes with tragic undertones. The play starts with a feud between two noble and rich families of Verona. The change of fate of these two young lovers and their feuding families makes the rest of the story quite interesting.

The Warring Families

Montague and Capulet were the patriarchs of the feuding families. Their conflict is put to an end by an order or decree put forth by Prince Escalus, who was the prince of Verona. Romeo the son of Montague is distraught as his love Rosaline rejected him. Unable to bear the pain he confides in his cousin Benvolio who tells him to forget about Rosaline and find another girl in the city. Both of them attend the ball at the Capulet house where Romeo immediately falls in love with Juliet. Since the ball was at the Capulet house, Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin incensed with the way Romeo snuck into the ball goes and confronts him.

Romeo loves Juliet unconditionally and after the party Romeo hears Juliet’s vow and confession of her love for him after sneaking into the Capulet orchard while she was in the balcony unaware of his presence in the bushes below. He then reveals himself to her and they agree to get married the next day. Their union was kept a secret. Juliet was supposed to marry Paris a kinsman of the prince of Verona, their marriage was ‘the’ topic of discussion and everyone was looking forward to it. She however did not want to marry Paris and with the help of Friar Lawrence she marries Romeo the next day. Friar Lawrence’s motive behind this act was to unite the two warring families.

Tybalt though wasn’t pleased with Romeo’s entry into Juliet’s life and challenges him to a duel. Romeo refuses to fight because he did not want to hurt Tybalt since he considered him to be family. Mercutio however does not tolerate Tybalt’s threat and accepts the duel on Romeo’s behalf. He gets wounded in the process which enrages Romeo who kills Tybalt and escapes from Verona. The Prince of Verona banishes Romeo. But he manages to consummate their marriage before escaping from Verona. Meanwhile Juliet’s marriage to Paris is confirmed. This news depresses Juliet who looks for a way to escape the marriage. Once again Friar Lawrence gives Juliet his advice and offers her a drug which would put her into a deathlike coma for a few days. He promises to tell Romeo about their plan so that he can join her after she was revived.

Their plans go awry as Romeo does not get the news about Juliet – all he hears from his servant Balthasar is that she is dead. When he reaches Verona he gets to see her dead body. In his rage he kills Paris and without thinking consumes poison so that he could join Juliet in death. After Juliet is revived by the Friar she sees Romeo’s dead body. Unable to bear the pain, she kills herself with Romeo’s dagger. After the death of the young couple, the two feuding families decide to shed their differences and live amicably.

Characters Created Around Love and Hatred

The main characters of this play are Romeo, Juliet and Friar Lawrence. Benvolio, Mercutio, Tybalt and Paris have smaller roles but their characters are clearly etched out to make them men of substance. The comic element is brought in by Mercutio while Tybalt personified violence and anger. Romeo is portrayed as a passionate person - his love for Rosaline in the start is true but his unconditional passion for Juliet is something that contradicts his passionate nature. However once he fell in love with Juliet his affection becomes more ardent which eventually blocks his thought process, bringing about his death. Juliet on the other hand is young and is characterized as a girl with a mind of her own. Though she is portrayed as an obedient daughter, love transforms her as she decides to respond to Romeo’s affection.

Creative And Simple Stage Direction

Stage direction for this play is not complicated as the scenes are mostly enacted in streets and houses. Props used in this play are the swords and masks which have a lot of prominence. The most popular scene of the play is Romeo serenading Juliet near the balcony. For a major part of the play the scenes change with characters entering and exiting without much fuss. The stage set up should enhance the role of the characters.

The central theme of this play is “love and war”. Love overrides other emotions and we get see different types or displays of affection as well. Romeo’s love for Rosaline was true but in the end he was mesmerized by Juliet’s beauty. Their love matures as she reciprocates his love. This is a classic drama which is still one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. This theme of lovers being united by death has been seen in many films and plays. This plot is pretty entertaining and is a success every time it is incorporated in a play, movie or book.