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The best way to describe a play like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is ‘a rose has thorns’. The being, in this case, the rose is love and the thorns are violence. Throughout this play, Shakespeare uses love and violence the juxtapose one another the contrast introduces to the audience the concept that love can be violent, and amid violence, there can be love. Shakespeare uses the juxtaposition of these elements the convey the hatred between the two houses, the Capulets and the Montagues. From the violence between these two houses blossoms love between the two lovers, we can see this from the first scene when these two meet.

Act 1, Scene V, the first scene where Juliet and Romeo meet. In a simple look, Romeo is infatuated with Juliet and falls head over heels for her: “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night as a jewel in an Ethiope’s ear – beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, as yonder lady o’er her fellows shows. The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand and, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (1, V, 40-50). But in this play, where there is love, there is also violence. Tybalt recognizes Romeo and realizes there is a montage in the house and instantly wants to start a fight and asks for this sword only to be deterred by Capulet.

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The hate for the Montagues that oozes from Tybalt is prominent throughout this whole play: “This, by his voice should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave come hither, covered with an antic face, to fleer and scorn at our solemnity? Now by the stock and honour of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it to not a sin” (1, V, 51-57). From this point, we, the audience, are exposed to the notion of love vs. violence, or love vs. hate. As we know, love is not only reserved for one’s romantic partner, it can be spread between friends and family. In Act 3, Scene 1, we see this as Romeo has just married Juliet and is out with Mercutio and Benvolio and runs into Tybalt and other Capulets. Mercutio and Tybalt end up in a fight, and Mercutio ends up dead. At first, Romeo doesn’t want to fight Tybalt, his new cousin-in-law, as it would upset Juliet, so Romeo shows his love for his new family and tries to talk it out, but after Mercutio is killer, Romeo lets love guide his anger, and Tybalt also ends up dead. This love for Mercutio is the same reason why Romeo does what he does at the end of this play.

“A lantern…for here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes this vault a feasting presence of light” (5, III, 84-86). After Romeo has been word gets to him that Juliet has died and Romeo is overcome with grief. Romeo makes his way to the tomb where Juliet lies. As Romeo lies there next to Juliet, so overwhelmed with love for his wife, he says she is still beautiful, even in death, that she is so undeniably that she makes the tomb glow with light. From their first breath shared to their last, Juliet would always be the light and meaning to Romeo. As we know, Romeo and Juliet kill themselves at the end of this play. Their love for one another was intense that they would rather not live than not be together for the rest of their days.

Ultimately in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, it was their decisions that lead to their untimely demise. Throughout the play we the audience are introduced to and become familiar with the concept that love can be violent, and amid violence, there can be love we this when Romeo fuels his violence with his love for Mercutio when he slays Tybalt. The tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a tale of old times that shows that love is violent, after all, a rose has thorns.

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