How Does Shakespeare Use Conflict in Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1?

2128 Words Apr 10th, 2013 9 Pages
How does Shakespeare use conflict in Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 1?
In this essay I will address how conflict is successfully used in Act 1 Scene 1 to prepare the audience for the rest of the play. It will firstly show how Shakespeare uses physical conflict between the two feuding families. Secondly I will demonstrate the idea that Shakespeare introduces emotional conflict through the character of Romeo, and his outpourings of love for Rosaline. Finally I will show that the character of Romeo demonstrates both physical or external conflict and emotional or internal conflict. The purpose of the prologue is to clearly outline the plot of the whole play in fourteen lines and it also allows the audience to be settled before the actual play
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However their view of him could change because he starts to back down due to finding out the law isn’t on his side and we learn that he does “... not bite my thumb at you, sir.” At this point the audience would then begin to view him as weak. The noble Benvolio (cousin of Romeo) is the peacemaker as he tries to stop the fight and orders them to “Part, fools!” It is significant that it is Benvolio who is the peacemaker as his name means good will.
However, Tybalt (Capulet) comes along and will not “talk of peace! I hate the word,” leaving Benvolio with no choice but to continue the conflict. The citizens of Verona are obviously sick of the conflict that exists between the Capulets and Montague, as they shout “Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montague!” So it is clear that the people of Verona do not like the frequent civil wars. This negativity towards conflict could also be seen as a metaphor for maintaining the peace in Shakespearean society.
The prince is introduced as the person who tries to maintain order and peace in Verona; he does this firstly by calling to the mob. “Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,” By addressing them as rebellious he shows them as being outside of the law. He also threatens them with torture to control the citizens so he has to address them with ferocity. This is something that the audience would relate to because peace existed at his time during Elizabeth’s rule. However to remain in power
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