“Romeo and Juliet”, analysis of the tragedy by William Shakespeare

The story of the creation of the world-famous tragedy by Shakespeare is rooted in folk tales of two Italian lovers and their artistic workings that appeared in Italian literature (Luigi de Porto “The Newly Found History of Two Noble Lovers and Their Sad Death, which occurred in Verona during Signor Bartolomeo della Scalo” , 1524; Matteo Bandello “Four books of short stories”, 1554; Luigi Groto “Adriana”, 1578) throughout the XVI century. The plot of the play was developed by an English playwright based on Arthur Brooke’s poem “The Tragic History of Romeus and Juliet”, 1562). The original title of the work, dating back to 1593-1596 (the exact time of the birth of the play is impossible to establish), was listed as “The Most Excellent and Saddest Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet”.

The genre of the work – tragedy – is set in accordance with the literary traditions of the Renaissance and is determined by an unhappy end (the death of the main characters). The five-part play opens with a prologue, which summarizes the plot of Romeo and Juliet.

The composition of the tragedy at the level of the plot has a symmetrical construction. In the first action there is a clash between the servants of Capulet and Montague, then between the nephews of the latter, Tybalt and Benvolio, then the heads of the warring families, the prince of Verona and Romeo, appear on the scene. In the third act, the clash between Capuleti and Montague is repeated: this time a relative of Prince and a friend of Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt and Tybalt and Romeo, participate in the fray. The outcome of the first duel is the death of Mercutio, the outcome of the second is the death of Tybalt. The clash ends with the exit on the scene of the spouses Capulet and Montague, and then the prince, who is making the decision to expel Romeo from Verona, which is deadly for the city. The fifth action again brings the plot back to the usual duel: this time the battle takes place between Paris (a relative of the prince, Juliet’s prospective husband, that is, the potential Capulet) and Romeo. Paris is killed by the hand of Romeo, Romeo kills himself with poison under the influence of the insuperable circumstances imposed on him by the will of Juliet’s father. The fifth action and the whole tragedy ends with the appearance on the stage of the spouses Capulet, Montague and the prince, reconciliation of families and the posthumous reunion of Romeo and Juliet – in the form of golden statues standing nearby.

The second and fourth acts of the play are devoted to the development of a love line: in the second act, Romeo and Juliet are explained and prepared for the wedding; in the fourth, Juliet tries to avoid remarriage on the terrible path of reunion with her beloved spouse. The death of the girl at the end of the work looks natural from the point of view of historical norms, and from the position of the passion that was inherent in the young heroes of the tragedy: Juliet could not live without Romeo, Romeo was gone – and Juliet was no more.

The death of children (Romeo and Juliet) – followers of the family traditions of Montague and Capuleti – puts a crucial point in the conflict of the warring Verona families both on a plot and moral level.

The main idea of the play is to assert new moral values inherent in the man of the Renaissance. Guided by passion in their feelings, the heroes go out of the customary framework of tradition: Romeo decides to marry in secret, Juliet does not play a shy lady out of herself, and both are ready to go against the will of her parents and society to be together. Love Romeo and Juliet no obstacles: they are not afraid of any life with her sensual side, or death.

Juliet’s character is evolutionarily more volatile than the character of her lover. Unlike the twenty-year-old Romeo, who has already known the passion in the face of the unapproachable Rosalina and is going ahead in her relationship with young Capuleti, fourteen-year-old Juliet advances in her feelings practically to the touch, guided only by what tells her heart. The girl is afraid of the expressed love confession, the first wedding night, the gloomy family tomb. Upon learning of the death of her cousin Tybalt, she first blames Romeo for this, but quickly takes herself in hand, is ashamed of her instant betrayal and takes the side of her husband in this conflict. Juliet’s hesitations are due to a young age, lack of life experience, and a tender feminine nature. Romeo’s violent passion and male nature do not allow him to doubt any of his actions.

Characteristic of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, a special world perception, combining Christian and pagan traditions, was reflected in the tragedy of Shakespeare in the artistic images of Brother Lorenzo and his rites (confession, wedding, burial) and Mercutio, telling Romeo the story of the Queen of Fairies and Elves – Mab. Religious asceticism and pagan riot of life manifested itself in a sharp change in the mood of the Capulets family – from the funeral, because of the death of his nephew Tybalt to the wedding, due to the alleged wedding of Juliet. The girl’s father does not see anything wrong with marrying a daughter within three days of her cousin’s death: for this period of history, such haste is normal, because it allows us not to grieve too much because of irreparable.

The cultural component of the era was expressed in the descriptions of such customs as the arrival of uninvited, but familiar to the owner of the holiday, guests under the masks (Romeo with friends in Capuleti’s house), challenge the duel through biting the thumbnail (the image of Samson – one of the servants of Capuleti), the arrival of the groom in the bride’s house on the wedding day with the aim of waking up her betrothed (Paris’s entrance to the Capuleti house), accepting the image of a fireman by a guest who does not want to dance during the ball (in love with Rosalina Romeo, who does not want to have fun with friends).

The tragic basis of “Romeo and Juliet” does not cancel the inclusion in the narrative fabric of comic elements associated with prose balagurism (the main language of the tragedy is poetic) Mercutio and Juliet’s nurse. The social difference between the characters determines the theme of their jokes: Romeo’s noble friend does not descend to folk humor, while the young capulet’s nanny ecstatically recalls the anecdotal incident from the childhood of her pupil, who has a frankly intimate character (Juliet, who has hit her face, responds boldly to her husband, who has a frankly intimate character (Julietta, who has hit her face, responds boldly to her husband, who has a frankly intimate character (Julia, who has hit her face, responds boldly to her husband, who has a frankly intimate character (her face Julia meets her husband responding to her husband) it will grow, it will only fall on the back).

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